When the earthquake struck, Alex and I were in the middle of a spelling test, Georgia was upstairs having just had a shower. It began as many of the other shakes have, some rumbling and shaking. The shaking then became more and more violent, until ending quite quickly. To believe such damage could be caused by about 15 seconds of shaking is amazing. I shouted up to Georgia "get down stairs as fast as possible!" and we all moved through the house and outside. My heart was thumping so hard, and I couldn't believe it had happened all over again. No power and alarms going off everywhere. Dead silence, then the aftershocks started. They would continue all afternoon and evening. We immediately realised that the city would have been hit as well. Quickly turning on the transistor radio, we were only able to hear what the rest of the country was watching.
Georgia has noted the day on her calendar
For a non-coke drinking family, I managed to find an awful lot of coke bottles!
Our city and country is part of a national civil defense emergency. The first time, in fact that a national state of emergency has ever been declared, such is the magnitude of our circumstances. Civil Defense can only issue it for 7 days at a time. We now have another 7 days, and it's likely to be repeated several more times.
The haves and have nots
Although all people in the Christchurch area experienced the earthquake last week, not all suburbs were directly damaged as a result. In a cruel twist of fate, the poorest suburbs of our city have been hardest hit. Those residents were only just getting themselves back together after September, now they face even more damage than before. Whereas the residents on the western side of the city are largely untouched. That's where we live. I saw a news item last night showing ladies sitting out in the sun at a cafe up the road, sipping their lattes, chatting and laughing. Then you see footage of Aranui, Bexley, Dallington and Avondale with no water, sewerage or water and certainly no coffees and food. I struggle daily with this inequality and perhaps survivor's guilt. My dirty washing pile is now almost up to date due to having plenty of water. Our garden is brimming with untouched vegetables and fruit, our section has no liquefaction and our house intact. However, my sister, aunts, uncles and cousins have no water or sewerage. My sister showers and refills her water containers at mum and dad's house. Here I merrily take autumn photos for my blog, very thankful and blessed indeed. Our street was visited on Monday by a search and rescue team from the Waitaki area. Another area had teams checking on them from Taupo.
While getting some supplies from the supermarket the other night, I met Gerry Brownlee, our (now) Minister for Earthquake Repair. Here was a crown minister humbly pushing his grocery trolley around at Pak N Save in Hornby Mall. I felt quite strongly that I wanted to talk briefly to him, so I plucked up the courage and did. Everyone else basically ignored him. I said to him what a great job I thought the Government was doing under very trying times. He spent some time talking with me about how very bad the death toll will be. This was last Friday night. We are beginning to see how very bad it is indeed.
How are we coping & feeling?
After yesterday, I feel I have left some grief behind me. Attending our local church yesterday for the 2 minutes silence was important for me. What a sombre and solemn half hour. Parishioners arrived from 12.40pm onwards. Nobody spoke, people just sat and listened to the beautiful hymn music being played gently over the speakers. At 12.51pm the music stopped for 2 minutes. During that time the bells were continually rung by hand. The sound of the bells resonating through the whole building was moving. It was a sad sad moment in time. What made it more so was the Japanese media photographer frantically taking photos of crying huddles of people in the most private of times. He was eventually asked to stop. Just bizarre. Somewhere in Japan will be photos of people from St Christopher's Church in their moment of grief.
Keeping healthy and losing weight - Week 1
On a lighter note. It will be important in the coming weeks and months to make sure I am eating and exercising right to help deal with the stresses around me. A priority for me will be looking after my anxious children and hard working husband. Homeschooling sometimes leads to long days for me, so this week I began concentrating on these areas of my life, which actually makes for a nice distraction from what is happening around me. So what better time to kick start losing some extra weight than now. Will keep you posted on how I am going.
Pants that are a bit tight, on the cupboard to keep me motivated
Pets, the garden and autumn
First leaves are starting to fall and freshly picked strawberries
Life and seasons carry on regardless of what is happening to man and buildings. Touches of autumn are beginning in the garden. I was most excited about this yesterday, as autumn is my favourite season. Sebbie was out under the shade of our big flowering cherry tree. The temperature was around 27, the hottest it's been for over a week. The strawberries are madly producing plenty of large juicy fruit.
Earthquakes are very tiring