Our capital is home to many migrants. In fact, a quarter of Canberrans were born overseas. We get so used to our way of life, that it’s sometimes refreshing to see it from someone else’s eyes.
In December 2017, the Nel family made their move from Johannesburg, South Africa. We asked them what the five things are that stood out for them.
“We love it here”, says Annette Nel. “I can regurgitate all the good things you can already read on the internet about Canberra, but these are five things that stood out for me so far.”
1. Canberra is friendly.
I’ve never felt so welcome in my life. People have been incredibly helpful and friendly. From the cashiers at the grocery stores to people at the local church who helped with everything from cutlery to furniture while we were waiting for our container to arrive, we were completely overwhelmed.
2. Canberra is efficient.
Getting a brand-new licence in 20 minutes? Wow. Where we come from, you would have to queue for a good few hours and then wait a couple of months to get a renewal.
3. Canberra is healthy.
Canberrans live for the outdoors. I’ve never seen so many cyclists, walkers or runners out and about as here. I often go for a walk next to the lake at lunch time. One day I thought I saw a gigantic fish leaping out. On closer inspection, I realised it was a human. And when I looked even closer, it wasn’t the only human. There were about five people having a weekday lunchtime swim in the middle of the lake, in the middle of the city.
4. Canberra has exceptional coffee and wine.
Coffee makes me a better person in the morning and a glass of wine makes me a nicer mum in the evening. But the standards of coffee and wine here, have made me a very, very happy person.
5. Canberra caters for diversity.
Not just in terms of culture (did I mention that I’ve met more Afrikaans people in Canberra than I’ve met in my boys’ English school in Johannesburg?), but in everything. For example, in South Africa you have two types of canned tuna: brine or oil. Here you have everything from Thai curry and mango chilli to sweetcorn. It’s wonderful.
“It’s been a great adventure of many firsts and we’re looking forward to many more – our first Canberran winter being one of them. We’ve been warned. And we’re nervously excited.”