20 Things I Learned About Wellington So Far

I have not been feeling motivated lately due to my disheartening journey in finding employment in Wellington. But as much as it has been absolutely demoralising, I am not going to let this unfavourable situation dominate my otherwise positive life in the city. I still believe that every negative thing that happens in our life is a lesson learned. Besides, I knew so little (if not nothing at all) about Wellington before I came here, so I thought that this is another opportunity for me to learn more about this wonderful, wonderful place.

Then came the realisation that indeed, it is now four months since I first set foot in Wellington. I had no expectations then and I still don't have any now. But in those months, the city has slowly revealed itself to me and the more I learn even the littlest thing about the "coolest little capital in the world", the more I enjoy living here.

I can only speak for my personal experience in Wellington and my observations may not be as profound as others might expect but there are things that actually make me think that although this city is not perfect, that I could actually live here for good if I wanted to.

So what exactly have I learned so far?

1. The people in Wellington are friendly
- This is one of the reasons why I never felt homesick. Although I didn't know anyone here when we arrived, the friendliness of the strangers (that were the Wellingtonians) was enough for me to feel comfortable and settle in no time. Most of the people that I have come across have been very helpful and kind. Of course, there will always be those odd ones (especially when they're driving) but they can easily be ignored.

2. And they're good citizens too
- When we were still jet-lagged and disorientated, we went to a cafe and I saw this small folded paper on the pavement. I picked it up thinking it was ours, but when I realised it wasn't, I put it back where I found it. Then a guy saw me and said, "let me get it for you", gave me a sarcastic look, walked away and threw the paper in the bin a few steps away. No wonder why Wellington is such a clean city.

Then one night, we went out to dinner without realising that we had food delivery that night. We were out for more than two hours. When we came home, the shopping bags were left on our doorstep. Actually, the same thing happened to our neighbour. I mean, if people in Wellington are not trustworthy enough, I don't think the delivery guy will even think about doing this.

Also, we have accidentally left some valuables in our car  multiple times already and so far, we haven't had anything stolen.

This is why I have always felt safe here.

Not to mention that Wellingtonians love to give back to their community, which is really admirable.

3. They're big on Brunches
- I was not so into brunches back in London but I completely fell in love with it in Wellington.  Brunch is served in most cafes and restaurants and in some places, there is almost always a queue. 

4. Customer Service is top-notch
- As soon as you enter any business establishment in Wellington, there is always someone ready to smile at you, greet you in a friendly manner, help you without being pushy and in retail, won't follow you around like you're going to steal something. They are good at turning "small talk" into a proper conversation, which I always find helpful as I learn more about the city each time.

5. Their coffee is the best
- I am not a coffee expert so I am not going to say anything more than the fact that I've had my best coffee (so far) in Wellington. I love the freshness and the authentic flavour of my trim latte (their version of skinny latte) when it's served.

Wellington is actually one of CNN's world's great coffee cities in 2014. 
Cup on the right is actually hot chocolate

6. Drinking water is always available
- In most (if not all) restaurants that I  have been to in London, I always had to ask for tap water. In Wellington, I haven't had to because the staff always offers a jug of water even before I start browsing the menu. Either that or you can help yourself from the bar or the water fountain. And oh, sparkling water is also an option sometimes.

And if you're out and about, they also have water fountains in public areas.

7. Paying your bill at a restaurant
- Yes, you have to get up and pay at the till. In my opinion, this works better as it saves a lot of time. I don't have to raise my hand anymore to get someone's attention only to wait for another 10-15 minutes for them to bring our bill, and then wait for few more minutes before we can finally pay. With the "get up and pay" method, we don't have to wait for anything. We just get up when we're ready, pay and leave. It's also convenient that their till is commonly located by the exit.

8.  They pay rent weekly
- I am so used to paying monthly rent back in London so when we were house-hunting, I got really confused. I thought we bagged a bargain when I saw a two-bedroom flat with an amazing view for $850 until J pointed out to me that it was actually the weekly rent and not monthly. Duh.

9. They round off your change
This actually applies if you are paying by cash. Basically, their smallest coin is 10 cents so your bill will be rounded up to the nearest 10.  So if your bill is $33.86, you won't get your 4c change back. This is ideal for those who hate coins.

10. They don't use cash
- Perhaps I am one of the only few people who still would rather pay cash than  use my card. I used to do this in England so I can keep track of my expenses because my transactions didn't appear on my account until a few days later. But no one pays cash in Wellington anymore apparently, so I have been using my EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) instead and I find it really convenient. 

11. Absolutely Positively Wellington
- The city lives up to its brand "absolutely positively Wellington". This city is definitely oozing with positive energy. Apart from their rich culture and history,  beautiful sceneries, lovely people and peaceful environment, they also love sharing positive thoughts everywhere. The other day I passed by a coffee shop and on their menu list it said, "I hope you are feeling beautiful today". :)

12. People are inspiringly fit
- One of my first observations when I got here. If I don't see them running, they're either swimming, cycling, skateboarding or working out in the gym. I even saw an old lady in her 70s skateboarding in town one time. In my gym class, I am the youngest (at almost 40).  I'm sure some of the ladies must be in their 70s already and we do the same grueling exercise routine for an hour straight. Some of them even have better balance than I do. They're really inspiring.

13. Internet is unreliable
- I say this because so far we have changed our router twice and upgraded our internet package hoping that it will be better than what it was. The connection is faster, but it still cuts off sometimes. This just confirmed what I previously read on a blog.  

14. People walk around barefoot
- I just don't get it. I would understand it better if I see people walking barefoot around the bays and beaches, but inside shops, cafes and around the city? I'm not quite sure.

15. It's expensive to shop in Wellington
- I have stopped converting everything into British Pounds and now I am finding things really expensive here. I guess a weekly spend of more or less than $400 on basic household needs says it all.

16. They have good road signs
- Currently, I am learning how to drive. I guess this is a good place for me to learn because the road signs are good (but I am definitely not driving up the hills). Apart from the standard roads signs, their roads are also literally painted with speed limits and arrows. 

17. And cool personalised car plates
- "HEY 38", "FBI CAR", "YOU WOT", "KOL MD" and my favourite:
Love the car or the person who gave it? :)

18. Windy Welly is REAL
- This is the reason why Wellington is never going to be a perfect city for me. I feel colder here than in London. The wind is really crazy and it's not even winter yet. I've only experienced such strong winds in storm season and not on a regular basis. A strong gust of wind often feels like an earhquake as our flat moves with it. The only thing that reassures me it's not an earthquake is the accompanying whistling and whooshing sound of the wind.

19. And yes, there are earthquakes
- All the time. But most of them are weak, if not unnoticeable. So far, I have experienced at least three proper earthquakes since January. They actually have a live quake update here.

20. It's always cookie time
- Nothing really. I just really like the ad. It sends out positive vibes. To be fair, the cookie tastes really good.

I know there is more to discover about this beautiful city in the next few months and I can't wait.

For now, it's my pleasure to know you Wellington.

tintin x


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