I was going to recount my delicious and quaint high tea at Martha's Pantry on the weekend and I most likely still will sometime soon, but right now it seems pretty trivial compared to what has happened and is currently happening in Christchurch.
Thankfully everyone I know who lives or happened to be in Christchurch on the 22nd of February is okay; however, speaking to my sister on the phone last night and having her burst into tears while describing things from the kitchen cupboards falling on her as she made her lunch while at home on her lunch break and then the kitchen door swinging back into her face and knocking her down as she tried to get out brought home the terror and the awfulness of the situation even for those who haven't been injured or lost loved ones.
She managed to drive out to my Mum's farm in the evening but apparently has to go back into town for work tomorrow; the office of the courier company she's working for at the moment while she applies for teaching jobs is being used as a dispatch depot (whatever that means) and they've asked staff to come back to work. It makes me feel a bit uneasy thinking of her being back in the city, even though of course she won't be right in the centre of the CBD. It also makes me feel really far away from her and my Mum.
Monetary donations (I donated to the Salvation Army but here's a list of some other ways to donate) seem to be the best way to help at the moment and it's heartening that the majority of people's generosity knows no bounds - a colleague's elderly mother was in the central city when the earthquake struck and ended up at Hagley Park, separated from the relatives she had been with (and her handbag) and unsurprisingly she was very distressed; soon after someone came up to her and offered to take her back to their undamaged home for the night so she didn't have to spend it in the park or go back to her house alone without knowing if it was safe or not. Apparently this sort of kindness has been afforded to many people.
It's so sad to think of the beautiful buildings that have been destroyed, of people's homes and businesses - I think of the crazy old fashioned shop I visited in December absolutely packed with grocery items on shelves and teetering in stacks and I hope those two white-haired men in white dust jackets managed to get to safety as it all no doubt came crashing down.
It's very surreal that life goes on here as if nothing has happened - apart from the flags flying at half-mast, the contents of the newspaper, and the fact that I keep checking Stuff every five minutes; I'm still sending a million and one emails relating to our Auckland Fringe show next week and worrying whether we'll get enough audience members to break even, planning how I'll get the car to the mechanic by 7.30am and get back to my street so I can get picked up by a colleague and get to a literacy and numeracy symposium in Porirua by 8.45am tomorrow. Yet in Christchurch this event will take years to move on from and for many people their lives will never be the same again.
Poor Christchurch, I just want to be able to give you a nice cup of tea and a lie down - aftershock free and with plenty of sugar.