– Poole, United Kingdom

On Friday 3rd September, 2010 I was at work.. in the UK. Hubby and I had spotted just the right combination of flights available for booking with reward flights to get our little family (2 adults, 1 child) to NZ in November, but we hadn’t gotten round to booking them yet. My visa had finally come round, but the timing of our actual departure was still a choice between October and November.

So around midday I said I was taking a longer lunch for some reason, dashed home, and booked the flights. One way, non-refundable, mid-November. Then I went back to work and handed in my notice. No turning back now!

And then a few hours later I was sharing our now-definite plans with friends on Facebook, when hubby’s mum – in Chch – posted something along the lines of “BLOODY GREAT EARTHQUAKE!”

That was all we heard for a while, and to be honest we had no idea whatsoever how bad it was until watching that evening’s news. Not that there had been any updates, power and phonelines being out at all. MiL’s post was only there because as an insomniac she had been wiling the wee hours away in front of the computer.. then cowering under a doorframe.

While we didn’t experience that quake, it really did shake us. Our resignations could probably be retracted, but those flights would be harder, and we’d been struggling for close to a year to get my partnership visa approved due to medical history.

In the end we landed in Chch on 15/11/11 anyway. Lightening only strikes once, right? Heh.

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