‘Hey, I even love Marmite’
Alyson Garrido has fully embraced the Kiwi lifestyle, and that yeasty spread other Americans usually love to hate.
Where are you from?
I am from the United States. I grew up in Massachusetts and just moved here from Los Angeles.
What inspired your move, and how long have you been here?
I’ve been here just over three months. I can’t believe how the time has flown by. I moved with my husband, Rafael, who accepted a job here in Wellington.
I’ve always heard wonderful things about New Zealand and my job can be done from anywhere, so it was an easy decision to make the move.
What do you do here?
I have my own business as a career coach. I help people decide what their next career move should be and then support them around how to get a job they’ll enjoy.
A lot of the work I do starts with helping people identify their strengths and how they want to use them at work, then we work on the tactical things like interview preparation, CV updates, search strategy and salary negotiation.
I love my job very much and feel so lucky that I can do it from anywhere. I am still supporting clients in the States and working with people here too.
What surprised you most when you first arrived?
I was blown away by the generosity of Kiwis. I have felt so welcomed here in my new home, which has helped my husband and I settle in very quickly. I’d always heard how wonderful the people are here, but it was beyond what I’d anticipated.
There is a tremendous sense of community. Everyone says that Wellington is a village and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people here and seeing the connections between those I meet.
They are hard to find! It definitely takes more planning and time to make a family visit, but so far video calls have been serving us well.
How expensive do you find it compared to back home?
Los Angeles is a pretty expensive city, so we didn’t see a huge uptick in prices. Our apartment dollars go a lot further, but food is more expensive here. I think it’s largely a wash.
What do you do in your spare time?
I really enjoy exploring the city. Wellington has so much to offer and I love discovering the little nooks and crannies that make the city so special and unique.
How do you get around?
I’m almost always on foot. I have heaps of meetings around the city and it’s great to know that nothing is more than a 30-minute walk away.
What are your favourite New Zealand foods?
I was nervous to try it, but am proud to say I love Marmite! Squiggles are also a favourite and, while this has been surprising to many, I quite enjoyed the Jaffa Lumps!
How do you find the shopping?
I’ve really appreciated the lack of big box stores that we have in the United States. The stores here are really unique and bring their own personality and charm.
Favourite after-dark activity?
Seeing how the city transforms. There are so many restaurants and venues that I’ve walked by dozens of times during the day and didn’t notice, but they come alive at night. I also love showing my husband the places I go and the things I do during my workday. Since he’s in an office while I run to meetings, I feel like his tour guide a lot of the time, which is really fun!
What are the top three things you recommend for visitors?
A yummy brunch at PreFab or Floriditas, a hike up Mount Victoria and a walk along the harbour.
Besides family and friends, what do you miss most about home?
Just the feeling of familiarity. Everything is still so new here, but I’m working hard to catch up quickly.
How easy is it for you to go home?
It’s a proper 24-hour journey to the East Coast of the States with layovers.
If you could change one thing about New Zealand, what would it be?
If I think of something, I promise I’ll put it in the comments!
Alyson at Rimutaka Hill Summit along State Highway 2.
Alyson and Rafael visit the Cape Palliser Lighthouse.