February 24, 2012

What it means to live in Christchurch

What it means to live in Christchurch


 This is so good I have reprinted it in full- it is written by Vicki Anderson, who has written some great pieces since Feb 2012, and was published in The Press and on the stuff.co.nz website


After the shock, this is what it means to me to live in Christchurch right now.

It means waking up with uncertainty in my soul each morning.

It means to inwardly wince when my children jump at a car backfiring, mistaking it for an aftershock.

It means watching my 4-year-old son shaking his fist at the ground during an aftershock and cry "stop scaring me" and being powerless to stop his pain.

It means financial hardship and struggle.

It means watching your children lose a layer of innocence.

It means watching those you love battle unemployment.

It means an uncertain future

It means thinking "but I'm not over it" when you hear other people say how over it they are.

It means watching an elderly couple with poor health leave their once proud, now ruined, Avonside home of 40 years, with tears streaming down their faces.

It means getting upset when someone says: "Why don't you just leave?"

It means coming to work and having a colleague show you the photos they took of themselves on their cellphone when they were trapped by fallen concrete. And, when they say: "If things got worse I wanted them to know the body was mine".  It means not knowing how to respond without weeping uncontrollably.

It means being described as "brave and resilient" when you feel scared and traumatised.

It means laughing for the wrong reasons at the Novus "show us your crack" TV commercial.

It means endless goodbyes at the airport, watching lifelong friends leave for a new life in another country.

It means watching people you love crack.

It means taking your car to the garage a lot for its munted suspension

It means telling people you live in Christchurch and feel forced to add "but the house I'm in is OK now".

It means getting used to moving house.

It means wherever you go you're usually outnumbered by people wearing fluoro vests.

It means witnessing on a daily basis people's ability for kindness and understanding.

It means being humbled by fellow Cantabrians' inventiveness and spirit.

It means acknowledging, more than ever before, the need to be more patient and understanding with everyone you meet.

It means always checking that the cupboards are full of dry food and the emergency kit is OK.

It means discovering who really cares about you and who just says they do.

It means trying to keep the car full of petrol in case "something" happens.

It means waking each morning knowing that today could be the day another big one hits.

It means thinking every day: 'Today might be the day we have to flee our house; am I prepared?'

It means never parking your car under or close to a big building.It means watching my 12-year-old daughter mature overnight because of her earthquake experience into a caring, wise, young woman.

It means being frightened of simple things like catching a bus or going to a mall, and gradually conquering those fears.

It means only shopping where you feel safe, constantly aware of what is beside you and above you while you do so.

It means entering a building and immediately scoping out somewhere you could shelter if a quake were to hit.

It means always checking your cellphone is fully charged.

It means showering more quickly than you used to with a cellphone within reach. Who wants to be naked if "it" happens again?

It means truly cherishing each moment you have with those you love.

I want those who live elsewhere to understand that we still have the capacity to be happy.

But, yes, some days we feel as broken as the buildings in the CBD.

I want Kiwis around New Zealand and overseas to truly know how deeply we feel their kindness, how thankful we are of ordinary Kiwis who did their best to fill our brokenness with their heartfelt words, hugs, songs, offers of holiday accommodation and fundraising efforts.

I don't want to remember

But I cannot forget that day

I cannot forget the days the earth roared

I cannot stop imagining the pain and suffering of those who lost their lives or who were trapped or injured on February 22

I cannot forget the fear on the faces of my fellow Cantabrians

In the last year I have learned to make peace with the anxiety that walks beside me

But for now it is always there, just under the surface, like the faultlines.

I follow Ali's blog - and I had already read Vicki's article so if Ali can do this, then I can too.

I had the pleasure of meeting Vicki at a concert last year and have followed many of her excellent post quake articles. She sums it all up so perfectly....

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers


  1. A lot to ponder. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Ah, everything happens for a reason, though that reason may not be within our grasped at the moment. Tragedy is very disappointing yet it could also bring courage and strength that we don't know we possess.:)

    Take care,
    Peny@uniform medical


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