Monday, March 14, 2011

from Wellington, with love

So we ran away to Wellington for a couple of nights, just to escape the insanity of Shakeytown. Not that we could truly leave it all behind for the Christchurch quake was the topic of conversation all over the city during our visit... well, until that Saturday night when the massive earthquake and tidal wave hit northern Japan. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods over there. Even before the Japan quake, we have been constantly reminding ourselves that we've been lucky. The phrase that keeps popping into our heads is "We don't know how lucky we are"...

We're also lucky in that we're surrounded by a generous well-meaning country, with local communities as well as ex-pats around the globe getting involved with fundraising events and organising vital supplies. There have been charity sports matches between NZ & Aus Golden Oldies rugby teams, a Legends of League game and a star-studded cricket match at the Basin Reserve.

And all over Wellington people were getting involved at a grass-roots level with events like lunchtime Zumba in Civic Square and rowing on the waterfront...

dancing in Cuba Mall...

as well as dotting the city with posters and other messages of love for the people of Christchurch.
^^ this little poster was all over Newtown, the suburb we were staying in... we walked past the artist's studio on our way to the Orcon Great Blend on Thursday night.
Quote/s of the night goes to Blair Parkes who was trying to explain the plight of eastern suburbs residents... "Look, we know people have died but we just wanna go to the toilet". Russell reportedly asked Blair if he'd had a shower since he arrived in Wellington to which he replied, "mate, I've had two".

There were reminders of Shakeytown everywhere we went... not all them were intentional. Just when we thought we were starting to relax, buying some wickedly good 70% dark chocolate from Kirkaldie & Stains, it all came rushing back. A truck rumbled past, spooking us with the vibrations which were then followed by construction activity in the building which made the wall near us creak alarmingly. Never have I left a chocolate shop so quickly or so willingly.

Before leaving the capital, we force-fed the teenage boy some culture and visited Te Papa, where we encountered more kind thoughts for the people of C-city... 
and a book collecting messages of love & best wishes from visitors...

It was starting to feel weird... all this love and support for Crusader country from the home of the Hurricanes. So much effort from all sorts of people, so many buckets being rattled & donations collected - strange times indeed. And then, a much-needed breath of fresh air... a little reminder that life carries on and that laughter is indeed the best medicine.

As we walked up Cuba Mall and away from the dancers, we overheard this little gem of a conversation between two hip young things who passed us, walking the other way:
him: Oh look, they're still there
her: Oh yeah, cool
him: I'll give you a dollar fifty to walk through them...


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