The housing conditions in New Zealand have been making headlines here due to the passing of a new grant trying to improve the standard of health in homes across the country. Things like oh, insulation, sub-flooring, double glazed windows and central heating are VERY uncommon here and as a result, during our very damp winters, many people suffer from health problems.
While we are lucky enough to live in a house with insulation, double glazing and central heat, it's still not sealed like one would expect. Our front door always has a breeze blowing through it as does our sliding door. So even though we keep our house much cooler than we would in the states (15º C or 59º F) we received our first heating bill with much shock. It didn't help that it was for almost two months on one bill. Let's just say there was a comma in the amount. Not something I wanted to save up for.
Kiwis take it in stride though. Someone was telling me their indoor winter wardrobe standard. Two singlets, a t shirt, a long sleeve and a sweater with sheepskin boots. Something is wrong here! Another friend said she got home to find her husband and son in jackets with hats on. She asked "Where are you going?". They weren't going anywhere, just dressed to stay warm inside.
The ads on the radio poke fun at it as well. One company's ad stated that buying a sweatshirt is much cheaper than insulating your house. "It's the kiwi way!". I mentioned to another fellow American how I felt like a wuss for being cold. She said "Nah, you bought into that harden up crap. I make no apologies for wanting to be warm." It clicked for me that I shouldn't either. I am still wearing my sheepskin boots but am bumping the heat up one degree as well. I guess we'll meet in the middle.