– Somerfield, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

My first earthquake experience was in Sept 2010 in an old wooden bungalow living on my own. The noise of that quake was what really scared me. Later in the daylight I knew it was the bricks from the chimneys falling onto and through the iron roof. The sounds of things falling and glass smashing and all this in the dark, heightened the noise senses.

In February 2011 I was at work and not so greatly effected as we were in a new build, but a phone call to my 8 month pregnant daughter really distressed me. She was at home with 2 older children and unable to get to them for fear of falling. Once I got to them and saw the state of their kitchen with almost all their kitchen belongings and their dinner from the crock pot spilled and broken on the floor, I realised how bad it had been. I spent hours cleaning it up. Over the next weeks I was often called during the night after aftershocks to walk down the road (we fortunately lived within 2 blocks of each other) in my pjs with headlamp on, to be with this daughter and the children when husband and dad was on night duty. Sleep deprivation was rife. Fortunately after No 3 baby was born, it seems the hormones changed and her mothering instincts adapted and I no longer had any night callouts. We did all have to pack up and leave town for 3 days after February tho, as having no power and water was too hard with little children. Good friends in Sheffield accommodated us.

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