It has been 2 years since my husband and I uprooted and started a brand new chapter of our lives in New Zealand. There are pros and cons of leaving the Philippines and living here, such as:
- NZ is a lot less crowded
- Better work-life balance
- Nature everywhere
- Relatively low crime rate
- Super high cost of living, especially in Auckland. Word of advice: Don’t come here unprepared.
- Bed bugs and sandflies
- Far from family and friends
But there are little things that I truly appreciate about living in NZ.
1. Pedestrians go first
This is the first thing that I noticed when I arrived in NZ. At Auckland Airport, I stopped at the pedestrian lane, waiting for my turn to cross the street. I was pleasantly surprised when the car actually stopped and let me cross. Disclaimer: Still stop and look when crossing, even if you’re in NZ. Better safe than sorry!
2. 15-30 minutes travel time to and from work
Back in Manila, having to deal with an hour and a half commute twice daily caused majority of my everyday stress. Aside from being a complete waste of time stuck in traffic, the trip just isn’t comfortable, You’d have to deal with jam-packed, old, buses or picky/bad taxi drivers. Don’t even get me started with the MRT/LRT. You’d be tired and sweaty before you even ride the train.
In NZ, buses and trains arrive less often. You have to be at the bus stop before the bus arrives (because that’s the only place they drop and pick up passengers). You almost always have a comfortable seat, and just less traffic in general.
3. Speaking of work, there are no Sirs or Ma’ams (or “Miss”)
I call my manager (even our CEO) by his first name. The same goes when I’m with our clients. Corner offices aren’t as popular either. So if you need to talk to the boss, you just walk up and talk to him/her. You would think it’s a small thing, but it’s more than that. Employees are more empowered to do what needs to be done. You don’t wait for people to tell you what to do.
4. Bring a plate
Enough about work! Let’s talk about parties and get-togethers. By default, those invited to parties “bring a plate”, unless told otherwise, or if the party is held at a restaurant. This means bringing food to share. This allows the guests try different kinds of food, there’s rarely a shortage of food, and it’s just a lot easier for the host 😊
There are dedicated bins for rubbish and for recyclables everywhere – at home, at work, even in public places. I never used to segregate cartons and bottles, but it’s the norm here in NZ. At home, people pay to get their rubbish collected, but collecting recyclables are done for free 👍
6. Not spending weekends in malls
In NZ, malls close at around 5-6PM. Coffee shops close at 3-4PM. Malls are also pretty tiny. So nope, nothing much to see there. People are encouraged to either spend time at home with family and friends, or explore the great outdoors. This is especially true during summer. Everyone is either having a BBQ, or at the beach, or hiking, or fishing, or having a picnic.
7. No need to buy filtered water
You drink water from the tap. That’s all.
8. Almost cashless society
And best of all, it’s super easy to pay someone/receive payment via mobile app or online banking, even across different banks! I cannot get enough of this. No need to go to the bank to make a deposit/payment or to withdraw. It’s also easy to buy stuff and book tickets online.
So yeah. So far, so good 😊 And I am so grateful for having the chance to live here. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of tears, but I’d say the leap of faith was worth it 💜