Our time living in Newtown for the month is coming to a close. A month has flown by, and we’ve truly enjoyed every aspect of it (I think I might have become a Newtown convert).
In particular, I’m leaving with not only happy memories of our stay, but a ton of interior inspiration thanks to Emma of Emma’s Atelier who kindly offered their house up while they went on a European soujourn (check out her amazing blog all about sewing here).
Being back in Wellington house-sitting has given me a chance to reflect on some brilliant aspects of the city that I probably had taken for granted after 3 years of living so close to town in Oriental Parade. When you live so close to town, you forget all the things you have right on your doorstep (two months of living in Greytown showed me how long a day can be when you have to factor in a commute). So I wanted to share the warm-fuzzy Wellington gratitude with you, as a reminder to myself, and hopefully you too, of what a wonderful place we live.
1. Very little commute and easy, lovely walking to work
In our month of house sitting, I’ve really enjoyed walking from Newtown to my work as much as I can. I’ve even walked into town on the weekend. There’s all sorts of characters; there’s always a new coffee shop to peak in on; the busy people of Wellington setting up their day. As you stroll through the surburbs into the city, you see different folk, and different moments. No day is the same. Plus, it wakes you up and puts you in a good mindset for the day.
2. Close proximity to a wide range of incredible cuisine
Since being in Newtown, Matt and I have dined at Ciccio Cacio (Italian), Viva Mexico (Mexican), Planet Spice (Indian) and the Mediterranean Foods Trattoria and Deli (twice!). It is such a blessing to be able to go and afford to buy a lovely tasty meal and sip a glass of wine at the end of the day, to connect and catch up. We live in the beating heart of the city and there is so much great food (at least, until Sunday). I love that there are so many diverse cuisine options in Wellington, and that each different suburb has its own vibe, own restaurants and cafe’s and is majority run by individuals or families, rather than big corporate chain-style dining spots.
3. The glimmering harbour side and hills
The harbour and rolling hills are something I take for granted about Wellington. While I was travelling in Europe, I really noticed how flat everything was, especially in London. I love that as you look up at the skyline, as you fly into the city, the layered wooden villas peer back at you, with multi-coloured roof tops and individual, quirky bends and folds. The lush bush hugs the sea and the Cook Strait beyond. The sea change as the seasons do, smooth and calm one moment and rough and choppy the next. There’s a feeling of expanse to the ocean. In Summer, we swim. You’re never far from a boat sailing out and onto the harbour. It makes me feel like there’s always an adventure.
4. The Sunday markets and small-scale sellers
Every Sunday morning the city congregates, not at church but at the city market at Chaffers Dock with equally religious fervour. People come to eat, drink and shop for their weekly groceries before having a coffee at a nearby bench or spot in Waitangi Park. Not only can you go and buy your discount fruit and vege from fruit-sellers, but it is a great place to explore small businesses and traders who set up camp. From the Shelly Bay Baker, to Plimmerton Kombucha, to the many vendors selling roti, greek food, crepes and more, there’s something exciting to delight your tastebuds and broaden your girth.
5. You know nearly everyone
On Friday, I bumped into a friend on a Tinder date. It turned out Matt knew the person she was on a date with. So we crashed their date and turned it into a group hang. Such a story would almost never happen in a city like London or New York. While our etiquette may be questionable, it’s impossible to not feel like you know everyone in Wellington and it certainly makes for a happy time with you can pop into a bar you know and spend the end of the evening hanging out with your friends, laughing and swapping stories before going home early because you got chronic hiccups (based on a true story).
6. The great craft beer
I love that almost every bar in Wellington stocks a really comprehensive range of beers these days; in fact, I was rather outraged when I was subject to a Speights at the Featherston off Lambton Quay a few weeks ago. From Epic Pale Ale to Panhead Brew, from Moon Bar and Bebemos to Goldings and Fortune Favours, the beer flows thick and easily in Wellington and the hops are hopping all year ‘round.
7. It’s where I went to school
This year my old school had its 100 year anniversary. My best friend Maria and I went along. While we were secretly relieved that our old year group was not to be found, as it meant that there was no-one comparing their lives to one another, we really enjoyed the nostalgia, seeing some friendly old faces of teachers and even an awkward rendition of our old school song. It made me appreciate how lucky I am to have gone to school in Wellington and have such strong roots, and even had my mum teach at my school for almost 20 years. People know who you are and consider you to be a part of their community, which is really rather heartwarming in this day and age.
8. Everyone helps one another out and are genuinely nice
From hairdressers to tattooists, from corporate CEO’s to government officials, Wellingtonians really are a rather friendly bunch. It must be something to do with our high quality of life! Quite seriously though, people are courteous, tend not to grumble, don’t push and shove, will almost always give you eye-contact and don’t mind sharing the time of day with you. It simply isn’t like that in big cities.
So let’s raise a glass to Wellington and start the week on a positive note - because after almost 30 years, and a love/hate relationship, today I’m feeling fine about you and I, Wellington, my old friend.