Cromwell like scene from movie
‘‘I drive and I look at the lake and I think, 'oh my god, I'm so lucky'. I feel like I'm in a movie.’’
Brazilian mum Elaine Felix admits she didn’t know where Cromwell was before she arrived in 2007.
Now, 10 years later and with two children and a fiance, the 34-year-old calls it home. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘‘Here is relaxed,’’ Elaine says over coffee in Cromwell’s Heritage Precinct. ’’I love the mountains, the lake, the views here. I drive and I look at the lake and I think, ‘oh my god, I’m so lucky’. I feel like I’m in a movie.’’
Leaving Brazil for an English speaking country is a right of passage for most young people from Brazil, she says.
She planned on working and staying a year after a Cromwellbased Brazilian friend convinced her New Zealand was the place to be. She found a job in a vineyard and lived in Cromwell.
Not speaking English was tough at first, Elaine says.
‘‘I didn’t know if people were laughing at me, talking about me. At the beginning, that was the hardest thing. It was really awkward. I didn’t know what to say.’’
It took a long time to trust people, she says. The cultural differences between Brazil and New Zealand meant it was hard to understand that complete strangers were just being friendly and didn’t want anything from you.
‘‘[I was] just so amazed there were good people out there.’’
Elaine found love soon after arriving with Cromwell born-andbred canopy contactor Nick Scott. The couple started NZ Canopies about three years ago.
‘‘When I came to New Zealand I wasn’t looking for anyone. Nick was someone who just took my mind off things. We just talked. God knows how because I didn’t speak any English.’’
In the beginning, her family were hesitant about her staying in New Zealand.
‘‘My dad wasn’t happy when I first [came] over. In my city you don’t live with your boyfriend before you are married. He was horrified [but] when he came here in 2012, he understood why I live here. He fell in love with the place.’’
Housing and the space in New Zealand compared with Brazil blew her mind, she says.
‘‘People are not that brave at building houses [in Brazil]. There the houses are wall to wall.’’
Nick felt it was ‘‘like living in a prison’’ when he first visited Brazil in 2011, she says.
After lessons and 10 years in New Zealand, Elaine’s English is fluent and as an added bonus, children Lucca and Josh are growing up bilingual.
Lucca speaks better Portuguese than Nick, Elaine says with a laugh. Her and Nick plan to bring them up learning about both cultures.
It’s her children that make Elaine - eligible for citizenship this year - miss her family in Brazil.
‘‘I miss my family, I miss my friends but I feel like I don’t belong there [Brazil] anymore. When I’m there, I just want to go back [to Cromwell].’’
Nick and Elaine will marry in her home city of Fortaleza in July this year.
Brazilian/ Cromwell mum Elaine Felix, 34, loves her new home in Central Otago.