This week, I went up to the Auckland War Memorial Museum to get myself out of house. For Auckland residents, admission to the museum is free with a MyMuseum card. I just showed the nice lady at the counter of a letter with my tax ID number with my Auckland mailing address.
I’ve only been here for two months, yet I can go to the museums for free. I feel like I don’t deserve such a perk. I just got here. I wasn’t even born here. Maybe I’m among good company: Statistics New Zealand says 40 percent of Aucklanders are born overseas.
Is there a spectrum of being new in town, living in Auckland, becoming an Aucklander, and the top level is bonafide JAFA? I’ve made jokes to my sister-in-law about being on my way to becoming a JAFA (just another f**king Aucklander, aka a snooty urbanite).
I don’t want to embrace the JAFA term, but I do like urban areas. Maybe I can be a gringa JAFA. That’ll be a hoot.
So. When Do You Become an Aucklander?
If becoming an Aucklander is based on when you get an AT HOP card (equivalent to a MetroCard, SmartTrip or Oyster Card), that means I became an Aucklander last month.
If it means having an Auckland mailing address, then I became an Aucklander at the end of December.
If it means ordering way too much Barilla dumplings late at night, I’ve been initiated as an Aucklander. Twice.
Is it when someone starts talking about Auckland housing and rental prices, and you want to stab yourself in the eyeballs? Yes.
Is it when you understand all the witticisms in Metro‘s “20 Questions”? I understand most of them, and ask for translation for any I don’t understand.
If it means going to the dairy [convenience store] to get an ice cream and talking with a stranger about how the Kapiti ones are the best, that’s not really Aucklandish, that’s just truth.
When does someone really become a resident of his or her new town?
For the Washingtonians of DC, is it doing five happy hours in a row? Or getting annoyed when Obama’s motorcade leaves you waiting on a street corner for 15 minutes? Or is it complaining about going out to Arlington?
In Atlanta, do you become Atlantan when you know which windy roads will intersect with the road you actually want to be on? Or when someone tells you to turn at the Waffle House onto Peachtree, they might be screwing with you? Is it a trip to the Clermont Lounge, or any old Waffle House after midnight? Or screaming your lungs out at Music Midtown?
In Chicago, is it when you stop crying because you’ve gotten used to the sensation of the boogers in your nose freezing over? Or you start wearing shorts and flip flops when it hits not freezing (technical term)? Or you’ve been to every single Paul Kahan establishment? Here’s what Time Out has to say.
When do you become a New Yorker? Is it determined by how a Gawker writer defines it? (Ten years residency.) I’m sure there’s some Sex and the City episode where Carrie says that you’re a New Yorker if you do x. Or here is a Time Out list of characteristics New Yorkers have.