Friday, September 2, 2011

Almost one year on

It is hard to believe we are almost a year from September 4th 2010 when our region started its sporadic shaking. On the day the headline in the paper was about the increased cost to EQC we had our house assessment. We had heard so many stories of bad EQC assessments, so were quite nervous about what would happen. It was like our house was sitting an exam and we waited, hearing snippets of comments and answering questions. Our house will be repaired and the EQC guys were excellent. But we are also part of the increased amount EQC need to pay. We have gone from damage of around $1600 to damage over $10,000 from the February quake. We now join another queue for Fletchers to fix it back to how it was a year ago. It may be a year but we haven't got very far to being back where we were pre September 2010.
It is so very strange, I still find it hard to face what I lived through. I can't believe everything that has happened and how afraid I have felt in my own bed at times. I now understand just what aftershocks mean. I am disappointed that even as the aftershocks get smaller, my reaction to them as not grown smaller with them. We had two fours on Wednesday but they made me feel uneasy for a few minutes. Fours never used to worry me when we were having them all the time. I think as we get further and further out from the big shakes, the emotions come more to the surface. I haven't been dealing with those while busy dealing with getting on with normal life. Then last night we were woken at 3.30am by a 4.9. Long and rolling and we could hear a few things fall down. The kids didn't come running in like they used to in the early days, they are used to this new world we live in. They said on the news this morning we'd had twenty-five shakes in the last week but I felt three.
Christchurch is such an unusual place so much of the city is going as it always was, making it ridiculous for any suggestion the city should be completely abandoned. Other parts just aren't. Anyway insurance doesn't let you get out that easily and we have jobs and much of the city is busy like any other in New Zealand. Driving around I see restaurants or shops from the central city relocated and open, it is like visiting family and finding old friends are there already.
One good thing to come through this whole experience has been the community spirit. It is okay to help strangers and to ask strangers for help. But it is also sad to see the cracks start to appear and the media try to push us all apart. East verses West. We have enough issues without taking it out on each other. I really hope we can all keep caring for each other - not passing judgement on each other's experiences and thinking before we speak whether what we say will put others, already under stress, feel worse. It is hard to hold everyone's comments lightly. We are all tired and even it we don't admit it, emotionally affected, by the last twelve months. It is easy to say one thing now and feel different later. Things are constantly changing here.
I am glad for the lights they are putting up in the central city to mark the anniversary. It is so sad to look in at a desolate, dark central city when it should be alive and bright on a Friday or Saturday night. The light will stop that stomach clenching sadness.
On Sunday we will go and join in the hug Christchurch - the place definitely needs a hug but when you hug someone, it is in support and you do it because you know together you can pull through anything.

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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.