‘Hey, I even love Mar­mite’

Alyson Garrido has fully em­braced the Kiwi life­style, and that yeasty spread other Amer­i­cans usu­ally love to hate.

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Dis­ad­van­tages?

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 GARRIDO

Alyson at Rimu­taka Hill Sum­mit along State High­way 2.

ALYSON GARRIDO

Alyson and Rafael visit the Cape Pal­liser Light­house.

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