– Upper Riccarton, Christchurch

4th of September, 2010…
“WAKE UP, EARTHQUAKE!” My younger sister yells from her top bunk.
“What? Go back to sleep, it’s just some truck going by or something,” I reply, only half-awake. She wouldn’t listen and got up, alerting the whole house. Then there was the sound of cabinet china crashing and family members waking. I joined some siblings, my dad and grandparents in the lounge some time later, amazed to see everyone standing around the television watching the devastation aired of the CBD.

It still hadn’t occurred to me that this was real, that this was happening now.

Then I realized…my oldest brother was somewhere in the thick of that in the city, studying when the quake struck…we desperately tried to contact him and my mother ventured into the city, simply hoping he wouldn’t be in among the rubble. Thankfully, he was safe, and we were very fortunate to come out of that with our lives and both parents’ houses somewhat intact, but my heart sank at the horrific loss echoing on around.
The only loss I had was my birthday plans, with my party due to happen the following week – this was nothing, capturing a glance of the 185 lives taken and hundreds losing loved ones.

It seemed just like a bad dream, but one that lingered and left the whole city aching.

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