Disclaimer: this is purely based on 10 days spent in NZ and my limited interactions with people there.

New Zealand has one of the nicest cultures I think I’ve ever experienced. I’ll highlight my experience in a variety of coffee shops and cafes as I don’t know how else to explain it.

Richmond Road Cafe

I walked in here with some teammates to get some coffee to go. Within 5 minutes of ordering and sitting down, an employee came and poured water for each of us even after we insisted we were getting coffee to go. From there, the massive coffee order overwhelmed our capacity to carry each cup so we asked for a container. Rather than bringing it to us and leaving it there like most places in the US, the waiter brought the container out and placed our coffee in the container for us.

Mezze Bar

I’ll try not to rant too much about how good the food was here but.. The food was AMAZING. Anyway, I was recovering from a cold the first time I came here. All of a sudden, a coughing fit overtook me and I was red in the face coughing. Without asking, a waitress appeared with water asking if I was okay. I have never experienced this in the US (do I just to to bad restaurants?). Finally, I was making a mess of the food I was eating and again the same waitress came over and offered me more napkins.

While both of these experiences were minor, they made a huge difference in my experience. Beyond just cafes and coffee, the big overall experience was wonderful. I saw very few people with their faces buried in their phones and never felt like I was having to dodge people on the street. Even when I was confronted by the owner of the Internet cafe I worked at some days for not clocking in, he was incredibly nice about it and didn’t get mad at all.

Experiencing different cultures inevitably makes you reflect on your own as well as why each place is the way it is. I don’t have any answers but I do know that we could learn a lot from New Zealand’s kindness.

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