Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Christchurch keeps on

When I reach school after the 6.3, Lucy runs across the grounds crying, "Why did you go?" - a good question I have been asking myself! After hugging others and wishing them all the best for the night, we head for home.
It is a funny feeling to approach our house and wonder what services we will have. I walk in. Is that the freezer in the garage I hear? I flick the lightswitch by the door. We have power! The relief is wonderful. No cold, dark night for us this time and we have the Internet! I check the tap - a dribble, then nothing. No water means no toilet. This is a little trickier this time. It is cold outside. We find gumboots for the kids. Luckily weeing in the garden is great fun, as far as they are concerned.
The aftershocks continue but are mostly small. The kids are relaxed enough with it all to even go to bed in their own beds. We have water back by then so in our house things are almost normal and definitely normal for life post Sept 2010.
We are woken in the night by another large aftershock. We are back to this - broken sleep, though the kids sleep through it.
Very little has fallen in our house. Nothing appears to be broken. The precarious stack of board games has fallen down in the cupboard but I leave them for later.
Tuesday is much like after September 4th. The western side of the city is operating as normal. The picture at the top is our street after 25 quakes larger than 5.0. The latest popular item for businesses are massive "open" flags - as big and bright as possible. I know in parts of the city people are busily shovelling but how much help can I be with two little kids in tow?
The kids are pretty grumpy and I feel like I have had a big night out, but I haven't - didn't even get around to having any alcohol on Monday night. I think it is the fallout from the shock and the adrenaline.
The big stockpot is back on the stove to boil the water.
We go to a smaller suburban mall to get the things for Tristan's birthday cake I hadn't managed to get on Monday. I don't want to go in but the other little shops we visit don't have what we want. Inside it is okay. Everything looks normal. I feel better.
In the shop an area is roped off. I look up and some of the ceiling tiles are missing. Others are half hanging - the metal frames that held them bent and twisted. My stomach sinks. We grab something that is sort of what we want and leave as fast as possible for home.
I can't help think of Haiti. They have been through this too but without the fixing and clean up we have between the biggies. According to the wonderful website of geologist Mark Quigley, Haiti had 16 aftershocks greater than 5.0. Admittedly according to geonet, we've had 25 above 5.0 but I still feel very fortunate to live in Christchurch.
When I think about leaving, I find my biggest fear would be to go through this again from September. At least we are surely further through this natural disaster sequence and are closer to the end than the beginning. Today Lucy said "I am going to take a picture of that building that is totally fine so I remember lots of buildings were okay."

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.