I’ve been in New Zealand six months. I landed with a working holiday visa, then I got a work visa and now I have a resident visa. It all happened pretty fast, but I have to say New Zealand treated me really well. It’s a different country (for sure different than Europe – I’m still adapting), but one thing I noticed from day one is that people are nice. They smile at you, they talk to you, when I’m running (let’s say I walk fast..faster than usual) and I meet some stranger’s face for a second there is always an “hello” or “how are you?”.
I decided I needed to do more for this people. I have few ideas, I believe in changing things, I don’t accept the world as it is, I know few stuff about digital marketing, and I’m willing to share, I’m ready to do something different. I’m not the easiest person in the world to get along with, because I have the tendency to look for people… like me. I need to see some magic in people, and if I don’t see it from the first moment we met, I have a bad feeling.
I’m going to share two stories with you in this post I called “modern help” (inspired by David Bowie’s “Modern Love”).
THE STORY OF A TINY AWESOME CAFE
I live in an Auckland area called Grey Lynn. I love Grey Lynn, I love the places here, I love the amazing park called Western Springs where I go to check the lion living there (there is a zoo nearby, and from the park you can see the lion’s cage through a hole in the fence). One of the first café I discovered when I arrived in October was “The Little Grocer”. It’s a little café where you can drink amazing coffee and eat awesome stuff (vegetarian options too). I just loved it. Few days ago in a local free magazine called “Ponsonby News” (Ponsonby is an area near Grey Lynn) I read an article saying that they want to close The Little Grocer to make a without-soul-boring-no-story café. WHAT? At the end of the article there was an email address where to write our experience with The Little Grocer and what we think about this news (this is already a great thing to do – communities, learn!).
I wrote immediately saying: “Let me help you! Let’s do something, because I don’t want The Little Grocer to close. There are good people involved, there is a story behind it, it’s a small and soulful café that adds something to the community”. They used to have a website, but now at the same URL there is a parked domain. I went on saying: “You have the domain. Let’s put some WordPress on, and let’s collect stories of Grey Lynn people about The Little Grocer and why we want the small café to stay open. Let’s tell the world the story of Little Grocer, let’s interview the owners, the people, let’s take photo, let’s create a ruckus…let’s try”.
After few hours, Jessica, working on this case with other Grey Lynn residents, answered me back saying she was excited by my email and she was going to talk to the rest of the group. After their meeting, she said the residents where excited as well to have me on board and we decided to meet over a coffee to understand what we can do.
Now, how awesome is that? You know, I don’t know if The Little Grocer is going to stay open, I don’t know if we are going to build the website and interview people (Auckland Council needs to approve the project), but nonetheless I decided to take action. Most of the time, we end up saying: “ah pity” but we are not doing anything to change things. Most of the time we end up just turning the page for the next article. I took action, I wrote an email, I did something.
THE STORY OF A TINY AWESOME THEATRE
After one month in Auckland, I changed house. I was lucky enough to find an amazing place. It’s a 2 bedroom house with a garden we share with a kiwi family and two beautiful cats (Harry and Frida). The guy is working at an independent theatre in Auckland city centre. We talked about it, and of course I asked him what they are doing online to promote it. They do have a website, and Sam (that’s the name of my neighbor) asked me to have a look at it in my free time. I did and I came up with some suggestions (basic stuff…they don’t have Google Analytics installed for example!) I put in an e-mail for him to share with his team of creative people.
The guys were thrilled about my suggestions and they invited me over to talk about it. I spoke with Elise, who’s in charge of all things digital for the theatre. We spoke for 2 hours straight, sharing ideas and technical stuff. She will start doing something, step by step, little by little and I’ll always be there to help and assist.
Now again…how awesome is that? Something happened. Things start moving in the right direction. And I’m part of it.
The most difficult part for me is to be able to outdo my shyness and ask, talk, put myself in the game. I received many “no” , or people who treated me like “who are you? I don’t trust you!” but that’s ok. I get used to this, but this doesn’t stop me.
I don’t receive money for these projects, but I believe in the power of the network made of people with the same visions. As I said, I don’t know the outcomes of these two stories (and others I started), but that’s the beauty of it.
But trust me on one thing: once you start putting yourself outside the comfort zone of doing nothing, it’s addictive.