Smiley Happy People

So I have been here in NZ for 5 days already and already noticed some of the things that make this country so different to Japan. It has been so long since I`ve come back to NZ as something other than a visitor or a tourist (I mean this time I am just living here, doing the daily life thing, going to the supermarket and walking around town like a local), that I haven`t appreciated what I have been missing.

As you might know, Japan is famous for always providing world class service to customers in shops and restaurants, passengers on trains and planes and in taxis, and in general, politeness and professionalism abounds. I always thought that this was enough, and bragged to family and friends about how good I had it.

But, in the last 5 days, I have questioned it just a little bit. Although the staff in NZ stores might not have the cleanest uniforms, the nicest hairdos, or faces full of perfect makeup, they do have something ... a genuine care for others.

Since I boarded the plane (Air NZ) for Japan last Thursday, almost every single person I have met, talked to or come across has been so friendly, helpful and happy. Genuinely so. Here are just some of the beautiful things that kiwis have done for me in the last 5 days;

- the male flight attendants offered to hold Aiden while I went to the bathroom on the plane, and chatted to me about their own kids at home.

-30 minutes after landing one of the ground staff at Auckland airport asked me `Were you sitting in seat 7J on the plane? Everyone told me that your son was gorgeous and so well behaved`.

- the bus driver offered me a free ride from the international terminal to the domestic terminal at Auckland airport because I obviously had my hands full with luggage and a baby.

- the checkout staff at the supermarket packed all my bags and even wrapped up my frozen food in newspaper so it wouldn`t melt on the way home.

- people I pass as I walk down the street smile and say `good morning`.

- one of the students in my mum`s class (she is a primary school teacher) brought a present for Aiden to remind him of NZ (it is the cutest rattle in the shape of a kiwi bird).

Of course, NZ (like any country) is not perfect, and there are also probably countless examples of bad customer service too, BUT, I have to say that I am impressed. Good work kiwis! You are making me feel very welcome and very glad to be home :)


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