February 22nd 2011 started like any other day, my partner and I work for the same company, and normally don’t have lunch together, but on this day we decided to both take lunch at 12.30 and we headed down to the pharmacy to pick up a subscription.
As we stood in the pharmacy on Colombo street looking at the sales table the shaking started. There was no where to go, my partner and I stood holding onto each other, as the shaking got worse, the lights went off, as the rocking continued I saw a great rush of dust go past the door… at that point I thought this is it, we are not going to make it through this.
We did, the shaking stopped – we ran outside into chaos. As I was with my partner, my first thought was for my mum who lived in town – I tried to text her off my partners phone, but my hands were shaking so much, my partner and I decided to run to my mums work. The sights on the way were astounding, roads that had ashphalt tents in them, the avon bubbling like a spa pool, buildings down, and people screaming and crying. We got to my mums work and I remember seeing her through all the panic. I called out and as she turned she burst into tears, one of the saddest and yet happiest moments of my life was seeing my mum alive and well. As we headed back to our work building we realised we had no keys on us – I ahd left my whole hadbag at work, and my partner had left his keys. By the time we got back to work, no one was being allowed into the building. we tried to get a life home from a friend but after sitting in traffic down for 45 minutes not moving more then a block, we decided to walk to bexley.
The walk home was frightening – it was like a movie. So many people all walking int the same direction, we saw alot of amazing frightening things on our walk home, and yet witnessed amazing human compassion. A man and woman down Avonside Drive had set up a table outside their driveway and were offering people cups of tea and coffee. As we got closer to bexley we noticed how bad it was – our street was completely flooded. We arrived home to a mess, my dog (my furbaby) had escaped out of the broken fence. This was the starw that broke the camels back for me, I got hysterical. I went out and looked for him and a good neighbour had found him and locked him in their yard. We stayed in Bexley for 2 nights before we packed up and moved to my mums in halswell. I remember looking at the TV for the first time when we ot over the the west and not wanting to watch it any more. Feeling the gut wreching heart ache of people who have lost loved ones. My heart still goes out to anyone that had to lose someone that day.
My family and friends were all ok. I am so very lucky, and am blessed by what I have. We will continue to live in CHCH for the soul of CHCH is great. Through all of this tragedy there has been rays of light and has shown the amazing strength of people living in this City. Kia kaha CHCH XXX