– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

“Wake up! Wake up! earthquake EARTHQUAKE!” My dad shouted at me as he shaked me awake. Wearily, I opened my eyes. Darkness was what I saw, but then I realised that it wasn’t my dad who was shaking me awake. Furniture rattled as I heard a deep rumbling sound coming from the ground. At first, I was confused. Why are my parents yelling at me to get up? Back then, I never realised how serious the situation actually was. In my 7 year old mind, it was just the ground shaking.

I went down the stairs wearily and turned on the lights. Only when I realised that no lights light up did I actually panic. My grandparents were up as well and we all quickly got into the car as the ground shook.

My memory was a bit fuzzy, but I remember that we immediately got into the car right outside. After a while, everything went silent. I may be wrong, but I think that it was a Friday when this happened. That meant I had violin the next morning. Mum went back into the house to get some socks but she had to be quick in case it might quake again.

As I waited, I asked my dad what happened. He replied that an earthquake had occurred and that it’s not safe to go back into the house since the house may fall on top of us even though it seemed to be perfectly fine. In the end, mum came back with her socks since she cannot find mine in the dark.

For the rest of the night, we sat there trying to sleep on the upright seats in the car. In the end, we never actually fell asleep, possibly because of our weird sleeping position. Until the night turned into day, whenever there were some more aftershocks I would yell: “earthquake! go away!” It may be a coincidence but it seemed to work- most of the time, that is.

When morning came, we drove to my violin place, which was an old building sort of similar to a church. As we got there, I saw that there were some buildings that once stood so tall collapsed and white rubble almost everywhere. That’s strange, I thought. When we got there, we found that the building collapsed into rubble. A man in an orange baseball cap was looking around the shattered foundation. I was confused as I also thought about the other buildings. How can a shaking ground cause such strong building to collapse? In the end we drove back home.

From then on, I suddenly understood that earthquakes are a powerful force capable of tearing down the strongest of architecture. Never did I realise then that the earthquake would change the history of Christchurch forever.

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