– Forestry Road, Christchurch, New Zealand

I was in the loo in the basement of the Commerce building at Uni when the February quake struck. I’m always in the bathroom when ‘they’ come. Two other girls were down the way, and started screaming as it began. We all held on the best we could, and I yelled to them to ask if they were OK. They looked at me, silently as it stopped, and we ran out of the bathroom to run up the stairs, where everyone from Cafe 101 was exiting the building. It took me about 4 or 5 minutes before I realised that I should ring my mum at home in the States, and also to find out if my flat was still standing (on High St, in the City). I was very very lucky. The people that I knew were fine, but my flat was not. I was now homeless, possession-less, and also without a University that I could work at. So me and my partner left to escape to Westport, to get some distance. It took several months to get my things out of High st, and it was quite a shock to see the state of the place (there was a possum living in my duvet, upstairs). But I found a new flat to be in, and I said goodbye to a lot of useless rubbish, because I had found a place that was ‘safe’ for now. Which is good enough, when you feel stranded. Thank goodness for that.

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