Monday, August 15, 2011

Understandably Impossible to Understand

It is very rare that you know exactly what everyone in your family is doing at a given moment when you are all in different places. Like right now, I have an idea but I couldn’t tell you exactly what they were all doing. But I can tell you for the moment of 12.51pm on Feb 22nd 2011.

Dad – had just gone inside for some lunch

Mum – about to open the door at Coffee Culture Beckenham

Deb and Annie Rose – driving on Opawa Road, coming up to St Marks church

James – sitting by the Bridge of Remembrance

Chrissy – walking up Cashel Street from Cashel Mall, coming up to the Hotel Grand Chancellor

David – by Pak n Save Moorhouse

Me – Standing in Dee’s office

Reuben – at Opawa School

Tahu – working at a house in Opawa with another guy

And we know that moment and we will never forget that moment and the moments (minutes, hours, days, weeks, months…) afterwards. And we actually all know what we were doing at 4.36am on Sept 4th 2010 as well. Although that one is pretty easy to work out! We were all in bed! (Different ones in most cases!).

It is coming up a year. I’m dreading it to be honest. I can’t even get my head around that first one but that we have had over 8300 (and counting) since just blows my mind. And as it should. Life in New Zealand is amazing, we are so lucky, if not the luckiest! We have an amazing mix of Island life as well as being a leader in the world in many areas. And now we are almost a year into it and life is continuing as normal! There is still life, death, happiness, sadness, successes, failures, exciting stuff, boring stuff. I feel like it should all stop! Like it’s disrespectful to the huge change in our lives!

I wrote a post a while ago about all the questions I had and some of those are answered but there’s many more in their place. Like will I ever not flinch when a truck goes past? Will I ever be able to look at a building and not judge it on its earthquake safety and what would happen if it fell? Will I ever see a construction or building site and not think “Earthquake Damage” and the same with cracks in the pavement?

Recently the plan for Christchurch was released and it looks amazing. There are high hopes and great plans in place. It will be an amazing place but it is a long way away. 15-20 years in some cases. Christchurch will be great but it’s going to take a while. It was a nice moment when I realised that reading that proposal made me feel good about being in Christchurch for the first time in months.

September was bad, I’ll never forget that. But when I think about that first morning as I lay on the couch in the lounge with Nat, Madi, Odette and Tahu and listened to them all sleeping I’m amazed at how na├»ve I was of what was to come. That is the beauty of not knowing the future though isn’t it. If I had known what was to come I don’t know if I could have handled it. I remember thinking how if this wasn’t over soon I’d get in the car and go and drive and find a big empty paddock or park and sleep in the middle of it without fear of something falling on me. I had no idea!!

I remember that day when we finally got power back and going straight online to see how ours compared to Haiti and that sick and shocked feeling when we realised ours was worse. Slightly stronger, slightly shallower, a million times less destructive.

And watching youtube videos of Chile and again feeling sick and in shock as this time I could feel what they felt. You can’t understand a massive earthquake until you’ve actually felt one. The Te Papa Earthquake House has nothing on a real one!

Recently I became aware that there are people reading this blog looking for bad things, either that I say or that have happened to me and it put me off writing about how there’s earthquakes are affecting me because I hated the thought of someone being pleased with it. But I realise now that it’s their issue not mine and that it is better for me to get this written down and that it may help others. I find that as soon as I say “I’m not handling it well” that almost always people will agree and start sharing how they are feeling and their experiences. There’s not a single person here who isn’t changed by what has happened. I definitely am. But somehow, sometime, I have to make that change a positive. But you’d have thought a year on it would be all done and over!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never been in a terrible earthquake, but we have them here in California and sometimes they are terrible. I supose it doesn't make a difference what the disaster is, when it happens to you, it happens.
Why isn't your change positive? look how much you have learned about life, earth sciences and emotions. Embrace and feel the change. that is what I think and read from you.

Jo said...

I know one day I will find the positives in this. I have always been able to find positives in the crappy things that might come my way. But so far the fear that comes with 8000+ felt aftershocks overrides my ability to find the positive. It is not in my nature to be like this. I'm not a negative person so it worries me that you find that in what I write. But also I know that for us it is still very real and recent and so looking for the positives in such devastation is very hard to find. I hope you keep reading my blog so that you can see when one day I find what it is.