Well, it’s one week today since this dreadful earthquake hit and I feel like I live in another world entirely. It still doesn’t feel real, and I am dreading the next few months – as every day there will be a new unpleasant surprise – a favourite building that didn’t make it, or a friend’s friend’s partner that was lost, or stories of hardship and heart break. There will also be more stories of incredible bravery, selflessness, and amazing escapes. Our thoughts and actions will also turn to learning why there was so much devastation to some buildings and to how we move forward and begin again, creating a bright future for all who love this amazing city.
The other day I said to my partner Bruce that during the earthquake it felt like the earth was ‘angry with us and not wanting us here any-more’. If you experienced the quake, then you will know exactly what I was feeling. I really thought the house was going to fall down the side of our hill as it shook so violently (half of the house is on poles). The earth might not like us very much right now, but the sky put on a delightful show for us the other night – it was beautiful and we all stopped to watch the colours change and the light slowly fade. As we still have no power, we have become very ruled by light, it dictates when we go home at night, what time we go to sleep and what time we wake up. We seem to be sleeping from about 9pm til 7am – I think our body clocks are resetting themselves and I also think that we both badly need the rest.
I’ve got my nightly routine now – light the candles about 8pm, place the cell-phone in the same spot on my beside table, place the torch in the same spot and upright so I can grab it quickly, make sure the space to our back door is clear of things, wash my teeth using a mixture of mouth wash and toothpaste, and count my blessings that I survived and so did those close to me. I have some survival guilt – probably like many others in the city – asking why me? Just dumb luck really. I’d like to say that after September’s quake we were ultra ready for this one, but other than having a lot of water on hand we hadn’t really done much extra. But we have fared well – mainly because we like to go hiking (tramping in NZ) – so we’ve got several gas cookers, head lamps, wind up radio / torch, dehydrated food, torches, emergency blankets, hand sanitiser, general camping equipment and so forth. We also always have a lot of canned food on hand – especially spaghetti and tinned fruit for some reason. We also have amazing neighbours who are all looking out for each other and who turn off their generators before it gets dark 🙂
For those that have suffered the most I can understand your strong urge to leave Christchurch and never return. But if you can and are able to stay, please do. If you have ever played Sim City you will know that you are in trouble as the ‘mayor’ when your people start leaving. If you can play a part in the re-build of Christchurch (no matter how small) then stay. But if you are so traumatised by the events that you can no longer get by and normal daily tasks are beyond you, do what is best for you and your family and go, but always keep a part of Canterbury in your heart.
Also, remember, that ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’.