Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The times, they are a-changing

Living in the disaster zone previously known as Christchurch is like continuously doing the time warp and not because we're often doing a jump to the left (or right, or both). Time moves in mysterious ways round here... some things seem to take forever while other changes happen quicker than you can blink. And so it was with the Operation Suburb team: one day we were feeding 5-600 people for dinner and the next, it was 30. Teams were being sent home, stood down, relieved of their duties. The rescue operation in the city has already changed to 'recovery' phase and the welfare centres are closing as people find their own places to stay.

It is now over six months since the September quake that cost us our home and we are among the thousands of local residents still waiting for a resolution. These days I find myself getting angry and frustrated whenever I see a house or building being demolished thanks to damage sustained in the latest seismic outburst, because ours is still stubbornly standing with no firm demolition date in sight.

The rate of change continues apace in other aspects of life also... disruption to UC campus buildings & infrastructure, coupled with a complete change of content & delivery method for NZBS, means that I will be dropping both first semester uni papers and taking two completely different ones in semester two. With any luck the university won't still be teaching under canvas on the sports field by that stage.

In other small but important ways, parts of life return to some semblance of normality. Until Friday I was worried that I was going to have to be unfaithful to my darling hairdresser... the salon is in an old brick villa on Bealey Ave, which until recently has been part of the cordoned off area. Let's just say, given the fate of many old brick buildings around town, I wasn't holding out a lot of hope. But praise the Lord and pass the peanut butter - they're open for business and the cordon has shifted back far enough to allow access.
Only just though... these soldiers are manning part of the cordon just two doors down. One of Chch people's new pastimes is 'can we get through the cordon?' Many people are becoming increasingly frustrated as they are denied access to retrieve vehicles, cellphones, files and computers left in the now-cordoned area a couple of weeks ago. It can be like playing roulette as the rules and danger zones change from day to day, meaning a very uncertain future for many individuals and businesses who are struggling to cope, to keep trading or to move on.
^^ one of the stranger sights around town at the moment.... for those who know Chch, this was the chemist opposite the After Hours Surgery on Bealey Ave... complete with crushed car as art installation.

If you followed the earlier linky to check out the artfully decorated Sumner portaloo, here's a new avenue for bragging rights 'round some parts of town... how flash is your long drop? You can only submit an entry if you're a local (this is a local loo comp for local people...!) but anyone can vote, so if you see something you like, vote away :)

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