Well as I write this from our safe house with power, water, food and knowing my family is all safe and well I feel a bit like a fraud, but even though I wasn't in Christchurch last Tuesday the quake has still changed me just a little bit. It has made me think a lot about what is really important in life and what is not. It has also made me realise how life can change in an instant and so much is completley beyond our control. For my own sake as much as anything, I thought I would share some musings here.
Nearly 2 weeks ago my nephew move to Chch to start university. To be honest I thought it was kind of cool that he was going somewhere that I had studied and that I had so many fold memories of. He was moving into the hall of residence right next door to where I had stayed and where I was when I heard of his safe arrival into the world all those years ago. Then last Tuesday morning he updated on facebook that his phone wasn't working and I didn't think much of it. A few short hours later I heard news of the horrendous aftershock in Chch and immediately my thoughts turned to him and close friends I have down there, and I suddenly wished they all lived someplace else. I managed to get through to a dear friend by text almost immediately and find out that they were traumatised but safe and well. After frantic texts and phone calls for the next hour or so we finally heard that my nephew was also safe. As I write this there are still many people I haven't made contact with who are in Christchurch and I hope that over the coming days I will hear that they too are all safe.
It is funny how your brain works at times like this. I turned on the tele and spent the whole afternoon staring in complete shock at the pictures coming from a place I called home for so many years, I mean surely this is some kind of disaster movie and not actually happening in our own back yard. As I watched the footage and kept glued to my phone and the computer for news of friends the hours slipped by and the day to day jobs seemed completely irrelevant. I was constantly thinking of more and more people I knew who wold be affected, many of whom I hadn't been in contact with for far too long, and wishing I had taken the time to text/write/phone all the time hoping they were all ok.
I must say that I am amazingly proud of the way the people of canterbury and NZ have rallied around and helped those in need in the wake of this disaster. I look at the speed with which the necessary emergency services were there on the ground not only from NZ but from around the world and it helps a little to know that everything humanly possible was done for those worst affected. I hear the stories of neighbours helping neighbours, the student army and all the other volunteers helping residents with the clean-up and getting food and water. So often the news is full of the people who do wrong that it is easy to forget how many selfless and amazing people live in this country.
I am not going to fill this post with photos of a fallen city, I feel that these are everywhere as it is. But I do want people to know that I am thinking of everyone who has been affected by this and wish there was more I could do to help. As I sit here writing this and thinking of the friends who have lost homes, businesses and loved ones I feel almost guilty that already I am again taking things for granted. I turn on the tap, flush the toilet, take a shower, cook dinner and grump at my kids just the same as I did a week ago.
We spent some time this weekend checking all our emergency supplies and refreshing our emergency water. Mr A wanted to know what we were doing and when told that we needed to have water in case there was no water coming out of the tap after something bad happened like the earthquake he replied "We could just buy a new tap though Daddy". The innocence of youth and lack of understanding is a good thing. I cannot imagine how all the wee ones who have been affected directly by this will be coping.
Take care New Zealand and keep supporting those in need, and please take the time to talk to/visit/hug your friends and family it is all too easy to take the simple things in life for granted.