Pre Feb 22, I was already sick of the rugby world cup; the disruption to the inner city in preparation, the stupid corporatey rules about what words businesses can and can't use in marketing. But Post Feb 22, I became quite a strong advocate that Christchurch should still host rugby world cup games. Today I realised, I have been fooling myself about my city. I knew we were experiencing a new normal at the moment, but I guess I always figured we could get back to proper "normal" in the nearish future.
This morning I heard a business consultant on the telly say business was not trying to get back to normal in Christchurch, it was currently in survival mode and then it would be finding a new normal.
An email from Lucy's Learning Advisor (otherwise known as her teacher) with a list of resources they needed made me realise, my relief at them finding a temporary location was only a very small part of getting the school up and going. Then I was confronted with all the small details - Lucy's bag is still in their school building in the red zone in the CBD. I need to find a new bag, some books and pens and pencils. Her pencil case is in the CBD. Her rain jacket and polar fleece she used to wear to school, also still in the CBD. In fact teacher's cars are still stuck in the carpark building in the CBD. I was thinking school being back was a step to a more normal existence but it is not normal at all.
This week I have seen a little of the better part of the Eastern side of the city - imagine gravel back country roads, that were previously busy, smooth city streets. I have seen a little of the inner city. I nearly cried when I saw the inner city, not because of the buildings that we've seen many times on the news but for the buildings that have never made it to the news that are lying as a pile of rubble, the windows smashed and still lying on the footpath. It is like a raw wound.
Seeing a little of both these areas, what hit me with a chilling lump in my stomach was the littler things, the folds in footpaths or new step ups in the ground that used to be flat. They reminded me of the amount of force that it took to push the ground like that and how that uncontrolled power felt.
By the time I saw the announcement on the World Cup I already knew what it would be. In some ways perhaps we needed this decision to make us admit that we really are in the middle of a national disaster. The word surreal has often cropped up in conversation, because our life here does feel unreal. We are three weeks after February 22 but sometimes it feels like only minutes and sometimes it feels like months. I may not be a rugby fan but it was really hard to hear that decision. It is one thing for us to say our city is munted. It is another for outsiders to tell us.
Learning without doing
10 hours ago