Seriously Surreal

I awoke this morning to the usual Saturday morning activity – two small pajama clad girls were planning Saturday adventures and soon invaded my bed for cuddles.  When we got up, DS was watching the TV. So far, so normal. Except he was watching a news update (not cartoons) showing a major earthquake had struck Christchurch at 4.30am. 

Christchurch is my home town. Although I have not lived there since January 2001, it is where I grew up, where my parents and parents in law live, and where we return to visit each summer, if not more often.  So hearing this massive earthquake had struck was scary. As the day passed I was called with news of my parents’ safety, texted that my MIL and SIL were safe, and eventually talked to them and was able to learn a little more about their circumstances amongst water and power cuts.  I am incredibly grateful for their safety, and the safety of other friends and the other residents –   and the fact that cracked driveways and broken glassware are easily replaced where human lives cannot ever be.

My FIL arrived for a visit with us direct from the UK – had he been flying home he would have been unable to land.  It must be worse for him, knowing his wife is having to cope alone. It’s awesome to know her neighbours are looking out for her, but it’s never a substitute for being there. 

But as I sat watching the news updates (while Miss 4 was napping, to save the endless earthquake discussions), it became increasingly clear that there is a massive level of devastation in and around the city.  Pictures are available here.  Beautiful old brick buildings are destroyed, and many more have been destabilised.  Houses have been damaged, many very badly. Shop facades and verandas have fallen. How incredibly fortunate this happened at the hour it did!  It all seems so surreal, as I sit here in my quake-free town, where we have not felt a jolt all day.  And FIL shouted us takeaways for dinner – driving into our ‘city’ centre, seeing it all intact seemed somehow odd, surreal.  My heart is in two places now – this small city in which I have settled, and in the town of my heart, where I grew up.

As the years have gone by, there have been more and more changes in Christchurch – malls have sprung up, new suburbs. Familiar shops have shifted or closed. Funky new ones have opened.  Shop fronts have been repainted or updated. Houses razed  and groups of flats raised in their places.  Familiar landmarks have always remained though. The city centre has been largely static. This is an area which has been greatly changed already, and which will change more in the days to come as aftershocks and structural engineers wreck and evaluate.  The city that I have known will be changing more and more. It has been awesome to hear the stories of community and co-operation emerging from the city – I hope that in the difficult days that follow, as the infrastructure is re-established, that the wonderful sense of community continues.  I will be thinking of  you in Christchurch my family and friends, grateful for your safety thus far, and wishing you return to a peaceful existence soon.


4 Responses to “Seriously Surreal”

  1. 1 Amybel September 5, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I thought of you when I heard the news. I hope everyone is managing ok and that life can get back on track soon.

  2. 2 Virginia September 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

    I was hoping that you were all right. I am so glad to hear that your family is all ok.

  3. 3 Darcy September 5, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Sorry to hear this but glad everyone is okay.Hugs Darcy

  4. 4 Caffeine Girl September 7, 2010 at 4:09 am

    So glad to hear your family is OK. It is hard when your hometown changes. I feel like the place I grew up was in a book or something because the place I visit is so different.

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