Bye For Now, Beautiful City of Wellington

I’ve lived in Wellington, New Zealand since March of this year. And oh the days go by so fast indeed, as in a few hours’ time, I’ll be returning to the Philippines. Though I’m a bit sad to leave Wellington, I am happy to keep in mind all the fine people I’ve met and known and the great places and events I’ve experienced in this beautiful city.

Splendid Places of Interest

Julius in front of a gigantic tree in Botanic Garden

I was able to visit lots of interesting places here in Wellington. Some of the places include the botanic garden, the bay, several picturesque places of nature, the city library, the Te Papa Museum, countless shopping malls, and a nice little farm whose name I forgot.

My favorite food places in Wellington are the Southern Cross Bar and Hell Pizza. The Southern Cross’ potato wedges are so good that I can eat a large pan of them. Plus the Cross’ people are genuinely friendly, and it was in this place that I met (and drank) with many great people. While Hell Pizza…let’s just say that apart from having yummy pizzas, it’s close to impossible to see an establishment like this in Manila (hint: pizzas are named after the seven deadly sins and their products have devilish imagery in them).

Memberships in Groups in Wellington

I became a member of three groups here in New Zealand. The first is the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. As a member of the foundation, I was able to borrow excellent audio books from its library and purchase lots of useful equipment. More importantly, I received from the foundation a training on orientation and mobility. This is a set of strategies used by blind persons to walk and travel independently. Thanks to this training, this blind man has now started to learn how to walk in the streets independently and safely. Well, in the streets of Wellington, at least. I’m looking forward to also applying these skills when I come back to Manila…unless of course some drunk jeepney driver would…sort of run over…nah, that won’t happen.

Second group is the Wellington IT Volunteers Group. This group consists of awesome and friendly IT professionals who meet every month and carry out activities for the community. I’m so grateful to my friends in the IT Volunteers group for helping me find opportunities to speak about web accessibility. Though I’ll be going to Manila, I’ll still keep in touch with the wonderful people in this group, and help in any accessibility-related tasks they will have.

Third group is the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand. I was able to attend one of their meetings, and I’m glad to meet new friends there and be aware of the issues that are most important to blind New Zealanders. I plan to work more closely with the association when I return to New Zealand.

Speaking Opportunities

While continuing my work for Even Grounds, I was able to do web accessibility presentations in a number of events in Wellington. First was the web accessibility presentation in the Wellington Web Design Meetup last August. Next was the presentation during the Wellington Usability Lunch, and finally, the presentation in the usability meeting at Bank of New Zealand.

I’m very thankful to the groups and individuals who have given me these speaking opportunities. I’d be absolutely glad to assist them if they need any help regarding accessibility and disability-related matters.

The Wonderful Persons Behind It All

It was my family who invited me and brought me here to Wellington. So essentially, all of the things I’ve mentioned above wouldn’t have been possible without them. That’s why I’m forever very grateful to my sisters, my brother in law, my nephews, and my mom. To them I owe this memorable, productive, and comfortable stay in Wellington. They were always there to make sure I could attend my meetings and speaking events, and they were the ones who brought me to all the aforesaid awesome places. I’m looking forward to being with my family again some time next year.

The Accessibility Ally Comes Home

This mischievous bat senses lots of upcoming web accessibility events in Manila. I’ve been communicating closely with the Philippine Web Accessibility Group, and I’ll definitely be meddling in their prospective activities, while of course continuing my work for Even Grounds. Plus there’s this upcoming web accessibility workshop somewhere in South East Asia which I’ve weaseled my way into. This is good stuff right here! Now please excuse me while I get some sleep to prepare for the massive 12-hour flight!

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