The days are passing and we are closer to our journey. Last week I went snowboarding with some friends and found a Californian (born in Romania but with the whole Californian mood), who’s been living for 5 years here and said how much he likes living here and why preferred here than the United States, he spoke for a while and made me think a little, from my perspective, what I would miss here, then decided to make a list of ten things I will miss most of New Zealand when we are out:
Since I moved here I’m having a much healthier life, living more the day than the night and doing a lot more physical activity. For those who don’t know I love surfing, and that was one of the reasons I have chosen to come to NZ for an experience outside of Brazil, the waves are perfect, with a tremendous variety, always close, with many almost empty surfspots, a dream for any surfer. Moreover I now go to work by skateboard when the weather helps, we can dive 10 minutes from home, in wintertime we go snowboarding at Ruapehu that’s 3 and half hours driving from here. This without mentioning kayak, trekking and others.
2 The Landscapes
Here we are middle class, and we have a gorgeous view from our bedroom’s windom and balcony, an island, the Wellington harbour and in wintertime on the background the mountains get all covered with snow, and nearly all of our friends (those who want it) have spectacular views as well. From the end to end of the country, a distance of about 2000 km, you can have dunes, swamps, bays, beaches, lakes, streams, waterfalls, islands, volcanoes, mountains, forests, glaciers, hot springs, geysers and fiords.
3 The Diversity
This is a feature more pronounced in Wellington, the city we live, the cultural capital and government head quarters, it is a very multi ethnic and cultural place, with many Polynesians, Asians, Indians, Arabs and Europeans. It’s simply impossible to get out on the streets and not hear a foreign language. Moreover lots of different cultures and religions living side by side, and the most important, in harmony. It is normal to see on the same street a woman with the head covered with a veil, an elderly man shopping with pyjamas and sleepers, an all dirty and wasted punk, an executive in suits and a maori with a tattoed face, that if you don’t find them sharing the same table in a pub.
4 The Sea
I was born in Curitiba, 100km from the sea, and have always had a fascination for the ocean. Today we are in a city between the hills and the sea forcing almost everything to be on the waterfront, our way from home to work is by the beach every day, is even better in the summer that the days are longer and when we return from work we can lay on the beach by 1 or 2 hours before going home. The beaches are always clean with super clear water.
Today we live in the 10 th safest city in the world which is tough get any other city competing, in Brazil we lived in a relatively safe city compared to other Brazilian cities, yet compared with our reality of today it is quite a violent place. Small things like walking on foot at night without worrying about who’s behind you, let your bicycle held on the door of the supermarket while you shop, houses without gates, high walls and big dogs give us a sense that it is difficult to describe but is priceless.
This is something all the kiwis say with a great pride – “we have almost everything close” and it is true, as the country is mountainous and small, you have a huge diversity of landscapes, all accessible on a weekend trip. The climate is also highly influenced by geography, and often on one side of the mountains it rains while the other is sunny, there is only one or two hours travel and climate change completely.
7 Social Equality
Since I was a kid I’ve seen in the news that Brazil’s bigest issue was the gap separating rich and poor, but I just understood the magnitude of the problem after living in a country where this inequality is minimal. Here everyone has access to education, basic health and a fair life. This means that everything is accessible to virtually everyone, if you wash dishes you can live in a decent place, have a car in the garage, and travel overseas, by the other side politicians go by bus to the parliament like any normal person, I had an interesting episode when we went to the theatre and sat next to the Minister of Defence of New Zealand and we came up having a chat, probably in our country you would have to identify yourself to get 500 metres close.
8 The White Wine
I am far from being an expert on wines, but one thing I’ve learned here was the joy of drinking a good white wine, which is not very difficult because we are close to one of the most important white wine producing regions of the world. The good thing is that we can have excellent white wines in dines by $ 10.00.
9 Can Do Attitude
Kiwis are very ingenious, they love their tools and equipments, and are always inventing something and always have a positive attitude about the challenges of life. We have met a girl whose father built an airplane in the garage at home, that actually flies, our flatmate makes their own surfboards. It’s nice be surrounded by people that are more focused solving problems than create them, always motivating rather than only see problems and difficulties.
10 Laid Back Lifestyle
When you visit a big city, everything seems to be happening at the same time, everyone is running in a hurry, always using the same excuse for everything – “I don’t have time for it”, is kind of a race against the clock and everyone gets stressed and grumpy. Here is the opposite, everyone seems to have time to take care of their own life and by 5:30 in the afternoon everyone is already running in the park, walking with the dog or having a dinner at the waterfront. The pace here is not the usual for a capital, is perhaps why one of the slogans of the city is “The greatest little capital in the world.”