Posted by: annie | June 27, 2010

What’s for tea?

What’s for tea mum?

I hear this phrase everyday from Brittany (my teenage housemate). Are you wondering why she would care so much about tea? I thought she was asking what kind of tea they’d be having for tea time, which is a ritual I had mistakenly decided occurred in New Zealand. One of the first times I called Massey University from the states, I was told the woman I wanted to speak with was “at tea”.  I smiled and hung up the phone imagining that those that worked at Massy observed traditional tea time with a cute little tea-pot, tea cups, with maybe some delicious scones.  I was charmed and excitedly related this discovery to my co-workers at the time. “Can you believe it? They have tea time in New Zealand, I can’t wait to have tea time…….” Hopefully some of them will read this and think it’s pretty funny how off I was. When they talk about tea, they are talking about a meal. It can be any meal time: breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  You’ll often hear people say “What’s for tea?” , “What should we have for tea?” or that someone is at tea. You might even get invited over to someone’s house for tea and they may ask you to bring a plate (a dish to share).  Luckily, I’m in the know now so I won’t show up with an empty plate expecting to drink tea.

My first semester of school is almost over.  I no longer attend classes, but I’ve had assignments to finish during this time.  Yesterday, I finished my last essay!!!!! I’ve got the next month to relax and have some adventures before I start my placement at the end of July.  I won’t have any more classes until next year!  I’m really happy about that as I’ve decided I’m over it.  My papers (classes) kept me really busy which explains my absence from this blog over that time.  It’s an interesting experience to go back to school for a degree in an area that you’ve been out working in for a long time.  It’s much more difficult to buy into the idealism of classroom theoretical social work.

For anyone wondering if the women from Michael’s class were able to shift that cultural programming, two of them were (pretty quickly) and one never did.  The young woman from India gave it an earnest go one day.  Before asking her first question of the day about one month into class, she announced her intention “I”m going to try to call you Michael today.”  Throughout class that day she tripped herself up with things like “Sir, uh Micheal or Mich, uh, professor… Micheal?”  It didn’t happen and she never tried again.  Maybe next year?

Those of you concerned about my driving will be pleased to hear it has gone surprisingly well.  I have been consistently driving on the correct side of the road and I’ve been following the weird right of way laws.  I have maps in the car so when I get lost (since this is a sure thing no matter where I am) I will be able to find my way.  All is well with the car.  I just got a band expander installed so I can listen to the radio stations here. My imported Japanese car had a stereo with only the 70s and 80s on the fm band so since all the stations here are mostly in the 90s, I had to do it if I wanted more than 2 stations.

I’m heading up to the Bay of Islands this week for a couple nights (the dolphins live up there!).  My first New Zealand roady (road trip)  I should have some great photos to post when I get back.  I just discovered my camera’s memory card was 125MB which I guess explains its inability to take more than 15 photos at a time:)

Here are some photos from Long Bay which is about 15-20min north of where I am. I took a couple of the trees because I just love the trees here for some reason.



  1. Hi Annmarie,
    What a cute story! Tea…it’s odd isn’t it. I don’t know what we are going to have for tea today….but I already had my tea this morning.
    I love the beach and trees sort of look like some you might find in Africa.
    Remember to change your oil, and I’m glad to hear you are driving on the right, left side of the road.

  2. Hi Annmarie,
    Fun to read your blog. When dad and I were there we never heard that phrase used. I guess you have to live there long enough. You will probably be learning a lot more, keep sending the pictures we really enjoy them. Dad and I also saw a lot of neat trees especially the pine tree with the pine cones that grow up instead of down. Have a fun trip.

    • I haven’t seen those pinecones. I’m going to keep my eye out, sounds weird.

  3. Sounds like you are having a great time! I can’t wait to hear about your road trip.

    Do they also say, “what’s for pudding?” They say that in England meaning, “what’s for dessert?”

    Anyway, keep driving and exploring! I love those trees, too. They do remind me of Kenya.

    Love you,

    • They do say “what’s for pudding?” Tracey says people would probably say dessert if they were out at a restaurant.

  4. YAY! I loved your blog entry! I’m happy for you that you get a break from school. Can’t wait to hear about your roady and your placement next term. Miss you!

  5. I hope you get to meet some dolphins on you trip! Say hi for me.

    I just had pudding for tea.

    Keep blogging! I love reading your posts!

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