Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh what a night!

I was going to call this post - what a week, but that was before last night when an aftershock hit with force - short and sharp. We didn't get up until it had finished. Tristan was still asleep, Lucy had all the duvets on her head. It didn't stop though, constant tiny aftershocks and larger ones throughout the night. Lucy slept on a mattress in our room for the rest of the night but it was interrupted sleep. Morning came far too quickly.
A few things fell over, the big breasted, pottery, Brazilian lady fell over again into her pottery Brazilian sheep. She hasn't broken so far but she has now been put in a box, I don't want to lose her after making it this far but she is rather top heavy. At least her head wasn't stuck in the Egyptian candleholder - I had already put that down in the box after Monday.
This week there has been a lot talk around the town of staying or going. It is irritating to hear outsiders saying we all should leave. The talk, which seems to be fast becoming fact, of abandoning 12,000 homes is about 8% of Christchurch homes. Only some of Christchurch is deep in liquefaction. I cannot even begin to know how those people feel and what it does do your state of being to have liquefaction pouring in through your power sockets and I live here.
That is what's so strange about being here.
The city is far from dead. It will never be the same again but much of life and work in this city keeps going despite everything. I visited a business on Monday with two huge containers in their carpark and more on the way. The port was shut last week and they are working hard this week to get through all the containers that were held up. Their old reception area downstairs has a crack in the floor and the dust of old, tidied up liquefaction. Their new reception is upstairs - clean and tidy and bright as always - though the floor moved more than I expected. On the street there are small piles of liquefaction but the work goes on.
Yesterday we had a wee walk in the gardens and came across the peace bell red stickered, (the picture above). It made us laugh. Can a bell be red-stickered? Or was it a symbol of the current state of world peace? We are not the only ones having a rough time. The gardens were still looking lovely despite the grey and the lack of people, but it was a freezing day.
A year ago I was having counselling to deal with my anxiety. One of the things I was struggling with was fear with what I thought would happen into the future. The counsellor kept saying to me - your picture of the future is just one scenario and noone knows the future. It felt so real to me, I really struggled to think that the future could be different. Now after so many quakes and aftershocks, (none of which I had pictured in my future scenario), I am much better at living in the here and now. Waiting on EQC, it is not even worth thinking too far into the future and Monday last week was testament to how quickly things can change here - anything you get done on any given day, is a bonus.
It is hard here and for some they have lost too much or been pushed too far but don't tell us all to leave - we can decide that each for ourselves. These quakes come out of nowhere and with no warning. If we move, we will not be any more immune to random bad events - it will just be a different place. On Monday night I was reading a novel about World War II and the lady wrote in 1946 from London "Everything is so broken, Sophie: the roads, the buildings, the people. Especially the people." She could have been talking about Christchurch.
I love London now and Christchurch will be fine - when the land goes back to sleep.


Sweetp said...

Ive just finished 2 books about the blitz and a lot of the fear, loss and "broken-ness" certainly hit home.I think it does depend so much on where in chch you live and how much the day-to-day struggles affect you. We have friends on the other side of town who have barely been affected - they dont even feel the 3's over there. As for us, we're leaving. Financially we are too poor to own a house or a business and for once that has worked in our favour - isnt it strange. Moving has been on the cards for awhile (long before Feb) but current circumstances have definitely strenghtened the resolve somewhat. I dont think chch is down and out, it will take a long time to rebuild and it will look different but I dont think people (who dont live here!!) should be writing it off

Fire said...

Fiona, I continue to treasure your posts. They make the experience of living in Christchurch in 2011 real to me in a way that nothing else does. I hope that that is what you're aiming for and that you understand what I mean. I do understand why people are leaving, and why people are not leaving - I think.

Fiona S said...

Sweetp, totally understand the leaving, it is so different isn't it across the city for feeling the shakes. Winter setting in, isn't really helping making things enticing either. ;)
Thanks Fire, that is totally what I was aiming for and good to know I am sometimes hitting the mark :)

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.