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The H Word-01
March 18, 2019 | by  | in *News* Bored Splash |
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The H-Word

The following is a true account. It’s real and it’s not okay.

It was my first tutorial at university, and it started off in a very normal way. We walked in and sat down in dead silence; the only thing connecting us the deep-seated fear of having to be that one kid who had to sit awkwardly close to the tutor. The tutor started a bit early, 2:05 instead of 2:10, (the classic, “Looks like everyone is here so let’s get started, shall we?”) She introduced herself; made a few jokes to ease the tension of the small, sweaty room. Then, the death sentence: “I thought we could do an ice breaker to start. Just your names and where you’re from, that kind of thing.” I was still blissfully unaware of my fate at this point, just as nervous as everyone else to speak out loud. First it was Katie from Auckland, then Tom from Wellington, Jessica from Kerikeri, Leah from Christchurch. It was going so well. I had so much hope and the anticipation I felt was intense. Blake from Wellington, Petra from Dunedin. My turn. Hi. I’m Marie, and I’m from Hamilton.

I had barely gotten out the Ham when the laughter started. It started small, but boy did it grow larger by the time the whole word was out of my mouth. “Hamilton” seemed to echo around the room, and in that moment, I began to sense that I had made a mistake. A mistake of medium-sized city proportions. Apparently, the first rule about being from Hamilton is that you don’t talk about being from Hamilton. I must have missed the memo.

This was only the first time. It kept happening, over and over, every time I met someone new. “So where are you from?” Hamilton.

“Oh haha don’t get too close, I don’t want to catch something haha”.

“Oh really? I’m so sorry for you

“Glad you made it out”

“What a hole”

“I might be from Gisborne but f*** it’s still better than Hamil-hole.”

Even my new friends from Whanganui thought they were better than me, and most of them have trouble reading at a primary school level. I was devastated. Hamilton, how could you let me down like this? I didn’t know what to do.

I started saying I was from “South of Auckland”, because I didn’t want to say South Auckland, though somehow even that seemed like a better alternative to Hamilton. East of Raglan. North of Taupō. West of Rotorua. Anything to avoid the H-word. It was hurting my social status. Everyone expected me to have the alcohol tolerance of an 100 kg rugby player and sink a box of Waikatos and taccy in the garden before town every night. Impossible expectations. The STD teases were constant. One time I walked around the hall in bare feet, and never have I felt like such an outcast. “Makes sense, she is from Hamilton.” “Probably goes to the supermarket in pyjamas too lmao.”

Eventually, I stopped caring. I realised that everyone’s hometown is shit, Hamilton is just a bit more shit. It has some lovely gardens though.

So this one goes out to every first-year from Hamilton who finds themselves feeling judged. Good luck. It’s a shit town, but at least it taught us how to swear in creative ways and distinguish meth-heads from regular homeless people. If you find yourself losing faith in Hamilton, just sing the Matamata Post & Rails radio jingle in your head or think about how that guy named Possum used to bring a real chainsaw to the rugby. Never change, Hamilton. Kia kaha. (Unless you’re from St Peter’s. This doesn’t apply to you. If your school has its own equestrian arena, I’m not too sure you were living the authentic Hamilton experience. Just saying).


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