New Job, House Hunting and Summerset Festival

So…finally some updates…but where to start?!

Well, first of all: MY JOB

On February 21 I started a new job, AND I LOVE IT. I work at NZ2011, a team created to project and coordinate programs to promote New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup.

The three major projects we work on are the Real NZ Festival, the Real NZ Showcase, and the Business Club. The first one is a nationwide festival, made of more than 100 events, taking place from September (and earlier) on throughout the country. The second one generates an opportunity for the main industries here to show their potential during the RWC, through a series key events (most of which also belong to the festival) that will display the progress of each industry and business opportunities both at a domestic and international level. It might be a boat show, or a demonstration of advanced agricultural technologies, or a visit to the studios of WETA Digital. This project, as well as the Business Club, has a strong focus on (but not exclusively) a “business audience”: people who are still coming for the games but that might be interested in meeting kiwis that work in the same field end take part to events that show how that sector has developed here in NZ. This is the main purpose if the Business Club: match like-minded people, international visitors on one side and kiwis on the other, according to the regions they are going to visit, on which days, and their interests. Kiwis become thus potential hosts, creating events in their vineyards or taking selected international visitors fishing on their boat. This is an opportunity to live unique experiences and at the same time open business opportunities for future collaboration.

I am mainly working on the Showcase, gathering information about the events that each sector plans on doing, as some of them may vary in time/place or be cancelled, depending on the budget of the different companies and associations. I am also working on relationships with foreign OTAs (Official Travel Agents). We provide them with tailored information both about the Business Club and the Festival, so that their clients will know what will be happening in each of the cities they’ll visit during their tours and won’t miss out on any opportunity. Considering that there will be more than 1000 events, both public and private, this is a huge help we provide, but OTAs don’t always understand what we are trying to do, and each of them needs a very special approach.

I can’t really explain more than this..if you are curious please visit the website http://www.nz2011.govt.nz and visit our website…it’ll provide you with deeper insight and a better understanding of what we do.

What I like the most about this office is that all people are driven by a real passion for their country and a strong will to make sure that New Zealand won’t stay just a spot next to Australia at an international aye but will show its real value, and do everything possible to achieve such goal. Alas! Not everybody is Kiwi (apart from me, a real foreigner, there’s a few Britons and Australians too), but we all (yes, me too) share this goal, we all want to achieve it, BECAUSE WE ALL LOVE NZ and know that this is its occasion to glee! Yes, it might sound a bit bold from my side, since I arrived here less than two months ago, but all I felt so far is positive vibe, and want to do everything possible to help out this young country, with an amazing potential, to spread its wings.

Last Week I even had my first drinks with colleagues after work! It is considered pretty normal in here, having a beer with colleagues on Friday afternoons, thing I find it quite amazing. It might be considered like our “office aperitivo”, but with a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere! I have also been invited to the 20th wedding anniversary of a colleague of mine, even though I’ve known her only for a few weeks! Everybody is fully dedicated on their work, completely focused, but then also knows how to enjoy life. Another initiative we are taking up now is Friday mornings breakfast: an opportunity to talk to colleagues you normally don’t deal too much with in a less formal, more chatty way than that normally adopted in a meeting room. It’s a good way to exchange info and updatse among different teams within the office and have a good start of the day at the same time.

 

In the past week I made some new friends as well!

First, there’s Frank, graphic designer at Resn. I like his colored but yet fashionable clothes (especially his purple t-shirt). He’s interesting. We share the same little obsession for iPhone apps, good movies, love for art in general and we both study French. One of his idols is Michael Jackson. I kicked his ass at foosball 🙂

Sabrina is a very nice Italian girl who arrived here 4 weeks ago.

I met her at Giulia’s birthday party (OMG she got married last week!!), where there were 50ish people, 80% Italian. Lots of fun, and an excellent BBQ! The cutest thing was a cat-shaped cake. Well…the cat was all pink and looked a bit like a pig, to tell the truth, but still cute. It was pink inside too and the whole cutting scene reminded me a bit of Simpsons’ Grattachecca e Fichetto (Itchy & Scratchy) hehe.

After the BBQ we went to the Newtown Festival (Newtown is an area in the outskirts of WLG), but arrived too late and there was nothing lest but a single stand with the last bands playing rock music. Still pretty cool, but a bit sad at the same time. We had a beer and then, at about 9pm, we went home (sharing a cab with a random super-funny Welsh guy and his friend cos the bus was nowhere to be seen).

 

DIET VS MEATPIES

A few drinks and continuous movement (I walk everywhere, up and down the city, every day) sometimes make you want a junky but yet tasty boost of proteins, and I found the cheapest and tastiest solution: meat pies, especially the minced meat and cheese ones. You find them in every supermarket and 24h shop. They’re warm, tasty, and cheap (about $2.40 each). It is just the next best thing, and it is new to me (thank God we don’t have them in Milan…or do we?) Anyway we don’t have 24h stores so it doesn’t make a difference since I normally have one on random nights btw 9pm and 6am…

Apart form those fat providers, I keep a rather healthy diet. Well, as healthy as possible, and with a good dose of movement.

At this point I made you either very hungry or completely sick…

 

HOUSE HUNTING

After visiting 10 houses in 3 days last week, I finally found my future home!

The whole house hunting experience has been quite interesting actually. I visited some places where only a pig (or an erasmus student) could live, and others in which the “room” (finger brackets) was actually a fairly large closet. The general answer was “we’ll let you know within the end of the week”, and the only actual positive responses that I had almost right away were those for the very crappy houses. On the fourth day, taking a break from the hunting, I received the third positive response and that one caused a real inner dilemma. It was quite a nice flat (the upper floor of a house) on Oriental Parade (very close to the beach) and the rooms (there were two available to choose from) were both quite big (you could fit a queen size bed and they all had an built-in wardrobe). The only other flat-mate was quite nice: a guy in his early-mid thirties, and a trainer in a gym. The thing is, the living room was very small and the kitchen almost non existent (a very small cooking corner within the living room). I am a social person by nature, so having only one other flat-mate (ok, 2 in the future) and a house in which I can’t really host anyone for coffee or dinner just doesn’t work for me. Whoever knows me a little understands what I mean. I didn’t feel at home, despite all the objectively positive points. Therefore, when I received the txt saying “if you want the room is yours”, I sort of panicked. After a Skype chat with my dad and consulting with 4 different friends here in NZ in the end I decided tut turn the offer down. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I never regretted it and felt relieved after texting the guy back. Well, I told him that I had found another place (a little lie that spares a long explanation) and he was cool with that. As a self-revealing prophecy, on Sunday evening I received a positive response by one of the coolest flats I had visited. I was sooooo happy, the news really made my day. The place is a 10 min walk to Courtenay Place (one of the main roads in the city center) and the flat is modern and very clean. My future flat-mates are a couple, both lawyers (and the guy is a Drum and Base / Dubstep dj as well!!), and a graphic designer, whose girlfriend is traveling throughout Europe. They are all about my age and seem very nice, laid-back people. The room is quite big (about as those of the other house, maybe slightly bigger), but the living room is huuuge, with a big  glass door that illuminates the whole area. The kitchen is still within the living room but quite big nonetheless. The house is sort of cream colored, which makes the whole place even brighter, with light gray moquette in all rooms (as most of the houses here..no fantasy at all). I can’t move in yet, because the current tenant is still in the process of moving out (he’s going to live with his girlfriend but they are still looking for a place), but as soon as I do you’ll see pics of the place! I bought a bed off a friend of a friend ($100 for bed and sheets..not bad!!), which is quite exciting cos it’s the first time that I get to pick furniture for my bedroom abroad (of course my favorite one is and will always be my bedroom in Milan, oriental style and purple walls).

 

WELLINGTON IS SMALL!!!

Some weird coincidences often happen here in WLG, to which I’m slowly getting used to. They are all connected to the fact that Wellington is a SMALL city and, secondly, that New Zealand itself has a total of 4 million people. Result = rather than 6 degrees of separation, in WLG there are max 2 or 3. After visiting the place on Oriental Parade, while heading to the last flat of the day, I bumped into a girl that works at the Embassy if Argentina, whom I had met for the first time in a meeting that very afternoon. No, this is not the coincidence. We started chatting (I’m going to send you that email abt bla bla, etc) and I told her I was house hunting and that I had just visited a house on Oriental Parade. Turns out that it was HER house and she was one of the 2 girls moving out. HOW WEIRD IS THAT?! Still shocked by the coincidence, I headed to the last house and, just by slightly turning my head to the right, I saw Sarah talking to a friend at the entrance of a building. We had a brief chat, and with even greater shock I finally arrived to the third and last house of the day. I’m not surprised by daily encounters with people I know now. I went to a festival yesterday and the first person I saw at the queue for toilets was a kiwi girl I had met through Giulia, and then, in the queue for the bar, Sarah and I ran into a couple of guys that we had seen at the beach the Sunday before, and then we ended up being next to them also for a the majority of the concert. We didn’t really talk, but they were very nice and offered to take us on their shoulders to see better, as we had ordered also for them at the counter (we kindly refused – me as wearing skirt).

 

Well, since I was talking about the festival..I have to say, it was AWESOME! The festival is called Summerset and it took place in a cricket place right next to my future home. 3 stages + Silent Disco, featuring Dizzee Rascal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSnllZjJLro), Dead Prez, and Dubstep DJs such as Chasing Shadows and Bass Nectar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VCO_M4jKI4). The festival started at 2 pm but we arrived there at about 6, skipping minor bands and saving energy for the big ones. We danced until 11.30 pm and had HEAPS of fun! I hadn’t danced Dubstep and Drum & Bass in a while and it was very “liberating”, pure energy and rhythm! Bouncing and bouncing, my green hoodie on (inherited from Melanie, a Canadian girl, very good friend of mine, met in Finland..thanks again Mel!), gangsta style.

Last Sunday deserves a to be mentioned as a great day as well. Veeery nice sunny weather, not too windy, perfect for going to the beach with friends (needed rest after a Latin American style birthday party hehe). We saw a group of 6 or 7 killer whales and another one of stingrays! Ai first, people were freaking out because they thought the fins belonged to sharks, then to dolphins, and then we realized that they were black and white..a bunch of Free Willies! Yaayyy! I had never seen them so near to the seashore! In fact it is not common at all, but I was told that, in their migration, this is the period in which they swim in this area.

After the beach I went on a date: dinner out in an Italian restaurant and movies. We watched “True Grit”, which, despite all the nominations and prizes it won, I considered quite average. I have to admit that actors has such a thick southern accent that, despite my year in Texas, I could get hold of half of the things they were saying, so wasn’t really able to appreciate all the deep dialogues that might have taken place. During the move I received a call by my future flat-mates, saying that the room was mine, and that was the cherry on top of a wonderful day!!!

Last Wednesday and Friday were cool too! On Wed I went to a French Movies Trash Night at the office of a friend of mine. The place is amazing, complete with foosball and pool table, huge flat screen and beer from tap. All colleagues and friends were very nice and we watched “Sheitan” and “13-Tzameti” eating pizza and having beer. I had also brought some home made lasagna, which was highly appreciated (despite the lack of real ingredients like ragù, replaced by bolognese sauce and minced meat).

On Friday I went to an office warming party and met a lot of interesting people, mostly designers. One of them (an extraordinary woman) and I are planning an Italian dinner for one of these weeks, a real event! Very much looking forward to it!

What else has happened in the last weeks? A bit of everything I must say…

AH! I received my first business cards! They say Benedetta C. Rossi, Advisor – Business Engagement. Yes, big deal you might say, but..well…IT IS TO ME!!!

I also went to Palmerston North to assist to a presentation of the Business Club, one of our products. My first real business trip (even though it was only 2 hours away by car). Yet again, easily excited, but whattahell, I’m just happy for this new job!

I should talk about St. Patrick’s Day at Molly Malone’s, probably the biggest Irish pub here in WLG, with live band and lots of arm-in-arm dancing (girandole a braccetto..?). Pics are pretty self explanatory though, so take a look at them on fb (Sarah took’em, I was tagged).

Well, it’s Sunday, there’s still some sun out, and I want to soak it as much as I can…park, here I come!

– I edited the text and published it after day out…very sunny and relaxing indeed! –

Peace.

Benny

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mel on March 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Benny! I’m so excited with and for you!!! Thanks for the update – it made my day for sure. I’m so happy everything is working out so beautifully and can’t wait to hear more about your new home and job. Everything sounds lovely 🙂

    Reply

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