Some things that I have been mulling over these past 13 days.
The day the 6.3 aftershock hit we were supposed to be running a Thai cooking class that evening. With sauces smashed all over the floor, I was trying to tidy them up, thinking I have to have it all nice for tonight. Of course as I became aware of the magnitude of the situation, the class never went ahead. Now looking back it seems unbelievable that I ever thought it could.
On the evening of the quake, it was suggested we leave town for Nelson. I didn't see why, we would get power and water probably the next day, it would be okay. By about 4 in the morning, when I was still awake and being shaken by aftershocks every few minutes - our decision was made, we were leaving town.
I will never forget driving north. Every stop we met other Christchurch people. You could tell they were Christchurch people because they looked as pale and sad as we did. There were no smiles that day, except from the kids. Just downcast mouths and haunted eyes. After the 7.1 we were smiling because we got through with comparatively little damage and no loss of life - this time was vastly different.
We had no power at our house for six days and no water for nine days. We are some of the luckier ones. Once you get water and power back, it is hard to believe how you lived you when you didn't have it. Did you really only shower at other people's houses and use water collected from elsewhere in the 24ltr beer fermentor? Having power and water you quickly get back into life's routines - even if you boil the water for 3 minutes before using it and have pots of boiled water sitting about on the bench.
Today we learnt something about how the kids are really feeling - we spent an hour just sitting with them on our laps and giving them hugs. Following that, they went to bed much better tonight. Yesterday Tristan wet his pants a number of times, finally we found out why - he was too scared to go to the toilet by himself. It has a crack right through the floor and I guess it just kept reminding him of that day. They don't tell you their problems, they just act all crazy and slowly we have to work it out, without getting too frazzled by their behaviour and our own emotions.
As life slips into some old routines but not others, it is hard to get a grip on our new life and what shape it will take. Everyday there are little steps forward to normality but then you hear another ramification of the quake and you feel you have slipped backwards again, wondering how this city and it's people who remain will ever move forward.
I guess it is like the little kids book we had out of the library a few years ago - One step - that is all we can do at a time.
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