As Kiwis, we embarrass ourselves overseas in ways unique to us. The shirtless drunken haka outside a London pub for example. Then there are the subtle ways. Like trying to explain rugby to American sports fans who don't care and can barely understand our accent.
We are all very proud of our little home. But we know most people don't know much about it.
So while impressed by the countries we visit, we're also hungry to shoehorn in New Zealand chat wherever we can.
As a result, I humiliated myself four times in Hawaii last week alone.
An accidentally racially charged haka chat, an American sports spat, an over-tipping embarrassment and the uninvited touching of a lady's bottom in a resort gym.
The Luau Loser
Sunday night we attended a hugely authentic luau held around cheap trestle tables, in a carpark, surrounded by 30-storey concrete buildings. At one point during the performance, they broke into an impressive haka. A solid opportunity for me to insert some New Zealand chat into the conversation.
So I turned to a lovely couple from California and said "This is the haka, from home". The confused woman asked "A haha, like a joke?" I said "No, no the haka. It's awesome. You know the All Blacks?" She looked worried and asked "The blacks?"
I should have cut my losses but didn't. "My kids are part Māori. This is their culture." Now really confused, she answered "mouldy?" The air was thick with awkward. So I drained my complimentary large pina colada in a plastic cup and ordered another. Go Kiwi.
The Cricket Creep
Like most Kiwis, I have an uncontrollable urge to explain cricket to baseball fans. The Dodgers were playing the Nationals in the NLDS decider on Wednesday.
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So I headed down to a sports bar wearing my Dodgers hat. Sat next to some guys also in LA gear. We got talking about the game. We were getting on well.
The Dodgers were up. Then they started losing. Everyone went quiet. That's when I chose to ask the Latino guy beside me "Are you familiar with cricket?" "No not really man," he answered. I went on "It's like baseball but there are two batsmen at once". "Okay man," he humoured me, keeping his eyes firmly on the match. I continued "Some of the games go five days and end in a draw". He put his hand up and whispered "I don't mean to be rude, but I've followed the Dodgers since I was born, this game is important man, can we just watch for a stretch?" He poured me a beer, smiled and pointed at the screen hoping I would shut up. I didn't.
The Gratuitous Git
It's great spending quality time with just your kids on a holiday. But eventually, you need some adult company. So you have to McCann them. That is, sneak out after they go to sleep leaving them in your hotel room.
I did this on the first night of the trip. Grabbed a stool at our resort bar and ordered a beer. It was fun. The bartender loved me. Too much it turned out. I'd accidentally tipped him $100. I'd reached into my allocated big bills pocket and not my tips one.
I slunk off back to my room, too scared to attempt a gratuity refund. Pretty sure that would be seen as a crime.
On the bright side, my family didn't get kidnapped and the bartender treated me like his best mate for the rest of my stay. Win-win.
The Handsy Hawaiian Humiliator
I hit the treadmill Thursday morning aiming to sweat out the large servings of food, drink and shame I'd been enjoying. But I left my phone on the machine. Returned only to find an impenetrable line of ladies working out. The treadmills were too close together to discreetly slip between them and grab my phone. With everyone wearing headphones there was no way to get their attention.
So I respectfully attempted to tap a runner on her shoulder. But my feet were still wobbly from my workout. Predictably I tripped on the spinning mat and accidentally smacked her backside.
She yelped and turned around in shock, anger and confusion. Bit of an altercation. Way too complex to explain. All I could do was apologise as the entire gym watched on. I left humiliated for a record fourth time on my Hawaiian holiday. Pretty solid effort.
New Zealanders are humble, friendly and proud people. We aim to represent our country well on the international stage. Sometimes we fall short of this goal. But in the end, who cares. You'll never see those losers again. So give em a taste of Kiwi.