Last night, for the first time since that day, I wept. Nine days after the quake that destroyed our city and left more than 200 people dead, I finally let the tears spill out. I can't tell you what triggered it... maybe it was just the unrelenting build up of pressure that comes from living in a disaster zone or the enormity of the fact that my immediate future is now so uncertain.
Two weeks ago I could have told you in great detail about my plans for the next few years - further study, more hours working with students & at major events, and the rebuilding of our home. Now I find myself questioning everything, as all the plans I had in place have been compromised to some extent. It's not that these things will be impossible to achieve, it's just that the ramifications of this seismic event are so huge and so wide that normal life will be anything but normal in Chch for a long time yet.
I feel like a traitor because I'm considering options that were not even on the table two weeks ago, options that mostly include leaving town. But for every alternate institution, every possible city, the question remains: will the benefits of the move to a new uni/location (ie bigger faculty, different approaches, situated on stable ground in a fully functional city) outweigh the disruption to the lives of my family? I'm not alone in these kinds of thoughts - Vicki Anderson writes in a similar vein today, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Nothing is certain anymore... but for now, we wait. Wait to settle our September claim with the insurance company (repeated phone calls have yet to get a resolution or even a reply); wait to see if hubby's job continues past the clean up phase; wait to see what happens with UC, with CPIT and with UPT (educational alphabet soup).
The tears threatened to return this morning. On the front page of The Press was a very big thank you...
Yesterday I met and talked with some of the thousands of people who are currently out there in the chaos, working with buildings and people to make a difference. The CBS Arena has been hosting a major catering operation as hundreds of meals are made and then trucked all around the city, and 5-600 people are fed on-site every evening. These people have been working long hours every single day and many are currently far from home and family. Screens around the concourse (including near the food & beverage outlets) are currently displaying a simple but heartfelt message: From the people of Christchurch, thank you.
I can't imagine what some of them are doing or the horrors they have seen, and after a few conversations and messages via text and facebook, we have arranged a special thank you for them. It seems only fair that some of the love currently being shown local residents by my favourite local band, The Eastern, is shown to these hard working USAR, Red Cross, Salvation Army & other Operation Suburb workers who have been toiling on our behalf. So tomorrow night, after many long hard days, we will give them some respite and entertainment after they've all had a well-deserved hot meal. The bar will be open but the gig is a closed event... maybe I'll get some photos to share.
Big thanks to hubby (whose idea it was), big thanks to The Eastern & the venue for agreeing to it, and most of all, big thanks and much aroha to all those who have been part of the rescue & recovery effort in Christchurch over the last 10 days. We couldn't have done it without you.