– 176 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

On the morning of the 22, I left for school unaware that by mid-afternoon my life would be drastically different. That day there was a teachers union meeting, we were released early and I headed home, arriving just 10 minutes before the quake. I was working in my room when the earthquake began and I thought little of it at first, to me it was just another small aftershock, as it became progressively more violent I started to get thrown around. I ran to the kitchen not knowing what to do as I saw things being thrown violently onto the floor. Above the roar of the quake I could hear alarms going off and people screaming downstairs at Caffe Roma. Once it had stopped we went down the fire escape at the back of our building and onto the green across the road. The streets quickly filled with people as they tried to escape from buildings, I saw people abseiling down the Brannigans building and watched the Provincial Chambers collapse, across the road I saw our building. The parapets had crushed the outdoor seating, fortunately no one was seated there. My dad fetched the car and we went to a friends house, 6 days later we were in Queenstown where we’ve been ever since. In the days that have passed I have returned to Christchurch multiple times, however I haven’t been allowed to step foot in our building since then.

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