– The Palms Shopping Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand

The day of the earthquake happened to be my 24th birthday. The day started out bad for me and my partner.

Firstly, I went for a bike ride at 7am. I was only about 4km from home when the chain on my bike broke. It was raining first thing so I came home soaking wet. Secondly, we had to take one of our mag wheels off our car into Beaurepaires on Durham street to get fixed, so our car had a space saver on the front. After dropping my partner and daughter off at his mums place I went to pick my step dad up from the airport. I was running late by 10 minutes so I was rushing across town. After picking him up we made our way to The Palms where we were going for lunch to celebrate. Pulling up into the carpark (luckily i parked in the open carpark) we make our way towards the Fox and Ferret. Walking up the steps outside towards to door was when the quake hit. My step dad grabbed me and wrapped his arms around me and a pole we were standing next to. It was a surreal feeling. I remember hearing inside the resturants things breaking and then windows smashing and people screaming, I was thinking if I wasnt running 10 minutes late we would of been inside. I remember looking at the ground and seeing the concrete moving back and forth and moving away then back towards the building. I was so scared I couldnt make any noise, I wanted to cry but i couldnt, my body wouldnt let me I was that scared. As soon as the shaking stopped we ran out to the carpark. All I could see was a big cloud of dust coming from a church that was on the corner, the side of it had fallen onto the footpath and road. My mouth had dust and all sorts in it, it was so dry. The liquefaction started coming up straight away. All the people had run out of the mall and there where so many school children because school had been let out early that day. I saw a few people that had bleeding heads. I tryed to get hold of my partner and daughter straight away, but my partner had left his phone in the car that i had. I managed to get hold of his brother and they were all ok. Next i was thinking about my sister. Wondering if she had been in the mall at the time or not. We got hold of her and she had been on the bus down New Brighton road. We told her to go straight home and we will meet her there. We left The Palms about 30-45mins after it happened. Now that was a long drive home. New Brighton road was a mess, it was all flooded, we couldnt see the road and where we were driving. It was so scary seeing all the damage. We made to the turn off to get to my mums place but the road was completely under water and liquefaction. We didnt want to risk driving down there in a lowered car with a space saver on so we parked up on the side of the road and walked the rest of the way.

Walking through the stinky water and not knowing where your feet were going was not nice. Made it to mums and the house was munted, things everywhere. We all ended up together about 2 hours after the quake and consolded each other. My step dad dropped me off in his 4wd to where my partner and daughter were. On our way past Bexley we picked up a lady that needed to get up the road but there was no way through the intersection. We took her up to the Southshore bridge. Finally with my partner and girl I was happy. But then we had the job of putting up a tent to sleep in. Over the next 2 weeks we slept in a tent and then a van. Had no power or water, cooking in the garage on the bbq’s.
2 months on me and 3 friends took a trip up to Auckland for 2 nights. I hadn’t let any feelings out about how i felt about the whole ordeal until the 2nd night up there. We caught up with a friend and talking with her, it all came out. I didnt realise how badly i was effected by the events. I was crying my heart out to my good friend. Im glad I did because i felt so good afterwards, like a big brick had been lifted.

The aftershocks had played havoc in our home, having a 3 and a half year old not sleeping well. 2 of the most significant aftershocks my daughter had been at pre school, its so hard not being with your children.
I was pregnant during the June aftershocks and those freaked me out alot. Then the December aftershock happened. I was about 35-weeks pregnant and home alone. Being in that state I broke down and cryed. The first time I had ever cried in an aftershock.

I had my 2nd daughter on New Years eve 2011. So I was up in Burwood Hospital when we had the nice cluster of aftershocks on the 2nd Jan. Being up in hospital, on the east side of town, with a new born baby. Not a good mix. Also being somewhere different and you dont know where to go or what to do, it wasnt nice. Luckily i got to go home that day.

We have thought about moving away from Christchurch but we dont want to. Christchurch is our home and we want to be here for the re build.

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