Six months ago today our complacency after our first big earthquake was shaken off it's foundations. Our first earthquake was big, unexpected but free of deaths and although damage was done to buildings, it was in most cases repairable. Not quite so in Kaiapoi, but the government was talking about land reparation so that rebuilding could happen.
22.02.11 at 12.51pm we were all doing what we normally did. I was sewing a quilt, Thomas was on the toilet at his 6th floor building in Cathedral Square and the boys were at school. One moment all was well, the next the world moved; literally. All our power went and I knew it was big simply because of that. I didn't go down to the school immediately simply because I knew they had to evacuate the classrooms and I'd not be able to find the boys until that was done. Instead I stopped to clean the hot chocolate out of the computer keyboard, shut off power points and check for hazards at home. I texted Thomas to see how he was, I heard back from him 2 hours later; he got my text well after he sent his.
My neighbour checked on me, I think we were both on autopilot, he was lucky to be home for lunch so all his family was there with him.
After that I went down and picked up the boys, Ian's bike was left in the bike sheds; he's not ridden it to school since then, probably afraid he'll lose it for 2 weeks again. I made the boys wait in the garden while I double checked the house to make sure it was safe and then I let them inside. No power, no water and no Daddy. We luckily had everything else we needed though; a radio to listen to which told us eventually how bad town was. Thomas eventually got home and we cooked up baked beans and spaghetti for tea on the single gas burner. Early bed that night, no power so no point in staying up once the light went. Some used candles, but I wasn't about to take that risk with the continuous aftershocks.
We came through fairly well, some nighttime wetting from both boys showed they'd been affected even if they didn't show it, but we all stayed calm and I think that helped.
Unfortunately this time there were deaths, too many deaths and many of our historic buildings are lost permanently. Life will never be the same again, we will always remember and mourn what was lost on that day.
6 months on though, many things are getting back to normal. We have all our modern conveniences again, and have done for a while. No-one in our family has lost their home, all back on full sewerage. Most of the shops we frequented are also back, though many have shifted to Papanui so I don't go to them any more.
The boys are no longer bothered by quakes and most of the time we just sit and wait to see if it'll get bigger, it did in June, but even that wasn't as scary for us as February. Things are quieter now and we hope they stay that way. Unfortunately many are not in the position we are, homes lost, loved ones lost and things will never get back to normal for them, not the old normal anyway. There will be a new normal, but not till EQC has finished paying out and the rebuild is done. In many cases people can't rebuild where they were and have to decide whether to accept the government offer or insurance. There are some exciting plans for the city, once it's all finished it will be beautiful again, but it won't be the Christchurch we remember.
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