Earthquakes, aftershocks, quakes, shakes - so many and so many ways they have affected this city.
Recently two visitors from out of town have mentioned the hope they noticed. Before, they say, this city was patching things up, making temporary solutions. Now, it feels big plans are happening, more permanent decisions are being made for a city on the rise again.
I know that hopeful feeling but living here, it alternates with a feeling of utter despair - which only makes me wonder, if I feel that way, how much worse must it be for people in the red zone areas.
There are days when I am just tired of the rubbish traffic, tired of not knowing where shops are now, compared to where they used to be, tired of having to pack up the house, tired of endless headlines of parts of my city beyond repair and being pulled down and tired of not knowing if there is another big shake coming or if December was it.
There are so many contrasts. I work at two places. One that is still in its usual premises, suffered minor damage but it is business as usual - albeit with a more intentional focus because of consequences of the quakes. The other is displaced from the red zone. Desks are tables, plastic bins are filing cabinets and everyone is doing their best to work in far less than normal conditions. I said to a visitor from out of town, we could meet in the portacom and they thought it a weird thing to say. Portacoms and shipping containers are so normal now, I hadn't even thought about what I had said.
I think I know all the stories of those around me from that fateful February day but then someone tells theirs and I am undone.
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.