Earthquakes and other excuses

It has been a pretty rough week, but I certainly can’t complain… I wouldn’t want to. Every new picture I see, every day that goes by, still not knowing the names of the more than 150 people killed in the recent Christchurch Earthquake… reminds me how incredibly lucky I am to be alive and have my whole family here with me – even if they make me mad sometimes. On Tuesday at 12:51 last week, I was sitting in the lunch room at Natcoll (first picture above) talking with my father. We were about to go and check that the software upgrades to my classroom had gone smoothly. I heard the rumble and thought, “Here we go again.”
The room began to shake, but instead of dying off as it usually did, it just got more intense. Dad leaped off the couch, going for the table, but then he saw me on the other couch, frozen. There was nowhere I could go. He knelt beside the couch and wrapped my head in his arms. All I could feel was this intense shaking. I just wanted it to stop.
Some of the other staff members cried out and I could see them struggling to remain upright in the doorway. When it stopped, we were on our feet immediately. Someone yelled, ‘Out’ and we started moving. I glanced over my shoulder out the window to see that the building across the road had lost it’s whole corner. There was rubble on the ground. A police car had appeared from nowhere and was just stopped there in the middle of the road in the dust – but that wasn’t important. I turned my attention back to my students. High school kids here at Natcoll on a short course. I had just sent them on a lunch break. They weren’t in the building. As I made it into the student area, I wanted to go and check my classroom, grab my bag and my cellphone, but Dad pushed me towards the door and said ‘Out’ again.
I honestly didn’t know whether to feel like a student or a teacher. I had no class to check on. Some of the students were crying. To keep from freaking out, I started herding them towards the car park. We tried to check that everyone was there, but we were too occupied by the cracks in the three story building next to us. The decision was quickly made to move again, this time to Latimer Square.
Stepping out of that car park and seeing how many of the buildings around us had either collapsed or lost whole walls was scary, but I tried to focus on this one girl who was in tears. I grabbed her hand and almost dragged her to the safety of the park. Then the second aftershock struck. Many in the park screamed and we clung to each other, getting down on the ground.
I tried to use EFT (something my aunt taught me) on myself and the girl, but I can’t say how effective it was. A few minutes later, I realized that the mess of smoke and steel across the road had once been a building. I am embarassed to say that for about thirty minutes I stood in that park, worrying about the smoke and wondering whether Christchurch would get away with no fatalities like it did last time. I was staring right at the CTV building and it took me thirty minutes to go ‘Oh, there were probably people in there…’
That’s when my attempt to be calm fell apart and I clung to dad and burst into tears. Then all the people I had been hugging and trying to console came and started hugging me.
Eventually, the principle of our campus said dad and I could go and I insisted on walking home down Barbadoes Street to see if my brother was still anywhere near his school at the Academy. We passed traffic so backed up that fire engines couldn’t get past. I just kept thinking of the building on fire, and how horrible the smoke was… and the fire engines couldn’t get there because of all these freaked out people in their cars. Some of them were even driving the wrong way down the one way street.
We kept crossing the road to avoid the sudden flooding and liquefaction. When we reached my brother’s school, no one was there, but the man locking up said all the students had been told to walk home. Dad and I continued our trek towards my house, fully expecting to have an hour of walking ahead of us. Strange coincidence struck when we reached the knox chruch on the corner of Papauni and Bealy Ave. Many cars had been beeping at each other the whole way, but dad looked up at this one and saw a bright yellow Honda Jazz on the other side of the road, stuck in the non-moving traffic. It was mum!
We crossed and jumped into the car, glad to be united with at least one family member.
Until she had reached that corner and turned on the radio, she’d had no idea the level of the destruction in central city. It took us a long time to get home, given the crazy traffic, but my brother was waiting when we arrived. I tried to text my boyfriend that I was okay, but the phone networks had all pretty much crashed. In the time between my texting him and being able to get him on the phone, he had posted me as a potentially missing person and freaked out that I had been in the central city and could well have been on my lunch break at the time. The sobering thought is, had i not made my lunch that morning (and I usually don’t) I would have gone out to buy something and could well have been a casualty of falling overhangs/facades.
This last week has been strange. Sometimes I feel fine. Sometimes I want to sleep. I freak out about stupid things like ‘will I still have a job’ and can’t seem to feel anything when they announce that some of the bodies may be burned and crushed so badly that ID-ing them will be impossible. I miss silly things, like my cell phone and my camera… my bike… while people are hoping against hope that their mother, or sister, or son, might be a miracle survivor even after all this time. I am normally such a positive driven person, but I can’t bring myself to hold out for hope or anticipate.
I was going to participate in the EFT World Summit, but it started the night of the Earthquake and we had no power for several days. When my computer was back up and running, I sent an email to Nick and April who are running the event to see if I could access the days I’d missed, hoping they might help me deal with my own reaction to the events and perhaps help other people. They did one step better and gave me a free gold pass on the condition I do something kind for a stranger. No problem. Christchurch is full of opportunities for that.
I hope that, with a bit of help, I can grieve properly for what has happened to the city and the people I love. I hope, then, that I can feel the genuine love and support streaming into Christchurch from people around the world. I’ll keep you posted.
Lots of Love,

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