August 18, 2013

Still standing here in Christchurch

Having a quiet, wet weekend and feeling a lot of sympathy for the residents of Seddon who have had their second large earthquake and many more aftershocks. The first was in July, and then another one hit on Friday. I didn't feel the July one, but our office on the fourth floor swayed for a very long time on Friday, making many people feel dizzy and sick. It is like sitting on wobbling jelly. No noise, fairly calm, but the length of it was a worry. I cant say I was thinking of Seddon at the time; just what an unusual earthquake it was.  All made sense when the reports came out on twitter and facebook shortly after.

Summary from the Geonet Blog(this is a great site for more information too)
The Lake Grassmere earthquake has a magnitude of 6.6. It occurred just after 2:30 pm on Friday afternoon, and was centred 8 km under the north-east of the South Island. The focal mechanism shows it to be a strike-slip earthquake, similar to the M6.5 earthquake in July. We have now had two similarly-sized earthquakes with the same sort of characteristics - they are termed a "doublet". This is not what we would usually expect.
There will be an aftershock sequence to follow this earthquake, and we already have had one of magnitude 6 and several over magnitude 5. The latest revised forecast for a further magnitude 6 or greater, for the 24 hours from 2:30 pm 17 August, is 7%
I think officially, as the July earthquake was a 6.5, and Fridays has been reported as a 6.9, 6.2, and now a 6.6, that if it lands up at a higher level, the July one will be considered a foreshock to the main event. 
Either way, it is a terrifying , disruptive event and has put all of the nearby city of Wellington on alert.  The high rises and density of the city will make the damage so much worse if the string of quakes moves further north. Having been there myself a week ago, I am just glad we all got home.  Counting fingers how many more days I will be spending up there for work before Xmas and I suspect 4, all in high rises and old buildings in the CBD.  Not happy at the prospect at all .....  
Still - after a stressful work week, there are some other things I am enjoying...
Alex got me some daffodils.... they make me feel like the sun is shining. They are everywhere now and making us all feel better because Spring is not far away. The garden is full of Rhododendron and Camellia flowering, blossom is coming out on the trees and the Daphne bush is in full flower, which means the house smells heavenly. 

Alex and Nicole made Green lipped mussels in white wine and chilli with basil leaves and fresh bread for dinner last night. Theres a good bottle of Sauvignon in the bottom of that bowl... the leftover liquid is in the fridge while I work out how to use it in something else!
3kg of mussels
Heaven in a bowl
One of my colleagues is celebrating her father's 80th birthday this weekend and the other children ( there are 7 in total) have flown in from all over the world to be here.  She has made an amazing movie of old photos of his very interesting life and I watched it in fascination on Friday. What struck me the most was how often I could see the face structure and eyes of her parents and grandparents reflected in the children as the pictures flashed through. The recurring sense of recognition as I picked out the wider family in group photos.  A complete novelty for me... I can't do it for myself or even much for the children.  
Last week I watched The Deep End of the Ocean again on television.... I have read the book too. It is about a kidnapped boy who is reunited with his family 9 years later.  Not easy for anyone....

While I was researching it, I found a full copy of the Kimberley May/ Arlena Twigg story, "Switched at Birth".  and because it was a dreary wet Saturday, I watched it  As a mother I can quite understand the need for the Twiggs' to find and get to know their own child after Arlena died. I can understand how Kimberley must have been terrified at the thought of being torn away from the life she knew but she had a right to know who she was and she should at least meet them. As an adoptee, the long court battle annoyed me for the hypocrisy. This is something that millions of adopted children can identify with and yet, all over the world, many courts will not open the birth records to allow people to find out their history, ethnicity and ancestors.  Birth mothers may well have signed away their babies, but the choice was usually because of the judgement of society, not rejection. At one point in the film, Kimberley's real father shows a picture of a very large family reunion of many branches of his family.  This is what it is all about he says - family.   
I have been privileged to grow up as part of a wonderful family who have always made me feel one of them and they are the most important people in my world.  Now, I am also slowly learning about another two families that I owe my genetics too, the ginger hair and freckles.... This has certainly answered some of the questions I had, like I really am English. not Irish or Scottish....
It is time that society recognises that adoption is a great way to make sure children are raised in a loving home, but that they still have a right to know where they came from and stop denying adult adoptees the right to search for their past.


  1. I liked the last past above especially. If the opportunity is there to take, then everyone needs to meet and find out where they come from - put the jigsaw together. I always looked up to my adopted family, but always feeling odd one out. The genetic family has been more recent to meet, and been really helpful to see pictures of the generations gone by, better now than never. There are still babies being born who need alternate families to the ones they are born into. Society should accept this amongst the array of various family structures that exist especially now. Good for you for writing this down above. The movie looks too heart breaking! Pip

  2. Those earthquakes would spook me no end; I honestly don't think I could live there, knowing that they will keep happening over and over again.

    Very moving what you write about adoption and searching for one's identity. A lot of wrong and injustice has been done in the past, and probably continues to be done; you are right, it is about time all involved take a different approach, to promote the interests of the adoptees.

  3. Wendy was at the practice in Hastings when the long roller struck and she said a number of people there felt nauseas with the motion. That it can be felt throughout so much of the country is quite a thought.

    I really find it hard to imagine what it is like being adopted and wanting to know about one's birth parents. I've thought about it a lot since you first mentioned it but knowing my family for generations past gives me no understanding of how you must feel.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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