Autor: Ana Carvalho Melo
The American couple Anna and Rob Zinn chose to live in the parish of Fenais da Ajuda, on the island of São Miguel, from where they continue to run a furniture and decoration company in the United States.
"It is wonderful that there is such a good internet connection in the Azores, which has allowed us to be close to our families during the pandemic, as well as working remotely in our design company, blankblank (www.blankblank.net), which my husband founded in 2004," Anna Pavao Zinn told Açoriano Oriental.
blankblank is an online store with "uniquely designed pieces" and a "forever furniture" perspecti. According to Anna Zinn, this year the company got orders from Google for one of its new facilities, as well orders from a celebrity chef.
Anna Pavao Zinn also said that the beauty of the Azores has been inspiring her husband, Rob Zinn, the creative director and main designer, since their first visit in 2006.
"He is a gifted sculptor, and the organic shapes and striking colors of our products are generally inspired by nature. Our hope is to produce one day some of our products in São Miguel, and serve our European customers from here," Zinn said.
Anna Pavao Zinn was born in California, but chose to live in the Azores, from where her family originates.
"My husband and I had been dreaming of moving to the Azores since our 2007 wedding and honeymoon in Terceira and São Miguel. But it was during the Trump years that we made the decision," Anna Zinn told Açoriano Oriental, explaining that she always felt a strong connection to the Region: "the culture of the Azores and the warmth of its people pulled me back to the islands every few years."
Regarding her Azorean heritage, Zinn knows that her family left the Central Group in the mid-19th century and that the only living relative she met moved from Terceira to Madeira.
"I am sure I still have many relatives living in the Azores. I have researched my family's genealogy, but it has been difficult to reconstruct our history from the parish's digital records, which are not yet indexed or searchable".
However, Zinn states that since their arrival in São Miguel Island, in the summer of 2020, it has been a very enriching experience.
"Our adaptation was very easy, but being an immigrant requires a lot of humility, adaptability and a sense of humor, since our whole daily lives are now completely different," she said, adding: "We have wonderful neighbors in Fenais da Ajuda, and we were fortunate to find a charming house with some land and overlooking the sea."
The tranquility with which one can enjoy time is another advantage that came with this choice.
"Now that we live here, I can appreciate the scenery and the way people live with nature. I love being able to walk all year round, collect sour water from the spring and adjust my daily schedule to the timing of the moment," she said.
Also her husband Rob Zinn has been adapting to the new life in the Azores.
"My husband is a surfer, so he really appreciates the possibility of getting into the water often and being part of the local surfer community. We were fortunate enough to make wonderful new friends in different groups, including our neighbors, the well-being community in São Miguel, other immigrants who like to socialize and the Rotary group" Anna Zinn said.