It’s been two years since the 6.3 aftershock hit Christchurch, tearing my family’s world apart and almost claiming the life of my husband.
For the two weeks building up to this date, I have felt a little off. Not myself. The heat hasn’t helped, but I just couldn’t understand quite why I was always on the verge of tears and desperate for my own company and no one else’s. Nothing I did could shake the lump in my throat and the feeling that I was just about to cry, and then my dad called and said a few really thoughtful things which made me realise what was going on.
It’s strange to me that I still don’t really have a complete handle on my own moods. I know when I feel sad, or uneasy, or scared but I don’t know why. It all made sense and I just let it happen. Let myself feel those feelings and took deep breaths.
I had been missing Christchurch a lot in those few weeks. I felt like I should be there again. Like I wanted to be there, but I didn’t really. I spent the couple of days leading up to the 22nd thinking about what we should do. I wanted to do things that I knew Ollie would like. As awful and heartbreaking that day was for me, he’s the one who almost died. It should be a day where he got to do the things that he liked.
I wanted to share some photos with you. To show you how far we’ve come.
A couple of days after he was pulled from his building. I’ve never seen my boy look like this. He took it of himself – I can’t remember why. There was a reason. Just before we left Christchurch we met the fireman who helped save his life. It was a surreal and amazing day. To be able to hug the man who is the reason the person you’ve loved and spent the last 16 years of your life with is pretty incredible. He told us that Ollie was only moments away from losing his foot and they had to put everything into getting him free.
It was pretty amazing to listen to him tell his side of this story. He remembered so much that Ollie wasn’t able to.
A couple of months later, the company he worked for held a memorial at the building site. They had pulled it down by this stage, and we were the first ones in to see it. It was very difficult to stand in front of an empty space where his building once stood and to remember the ten people we lost. I think it was harder on me than it was on him, because it was the first time I had really seen for myself that all of this was real. I had the proof in front of me of course, every time I looked at Ollie, but you sort of blank it out, you don’t really consider the reality of what happened until you’re confronted with something like this.
It’s been a long couple of years following all of this, and it’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come. Now we’re living in Australia and life is completely different. People are different, the weather is different, the birdsong, the insects. It’s only one country over, but it just feels so very different here.
We’re moving on and settling in and coming to terms with a whole new life. We’re taking our time and enjoying ourselves together and just letting things happen as they’re supposed to. On the 22nd of February this year, we took to the city on our bikes.
This is mine. I love it so much, you have no idea! I’ve only ridden it twice because of the heat, and it is still missing it’s basket as yet (although I have a feeling that will be delivered today! YAY!), but I just LOVE it. It’s so cute and easy to ride. I was stopped in the city by a guy who wanted to know all about it. As soon as people see it, they love it. It’s just the most adorable thing in the world.
Our day consisted of riding through the park opposite us in order to get to the city which is only about 8 minutes away where we had lunch at a cafe.
Mine was a Thai noodle salad with coconut water, and Ollie had a mushroom pizza. It was SO good! And then we continued on through the city to the Art Gallery where we wandered for awhile looking at the exhibitions. Some of which I have to admit were extremely horrific and kind of terrifying. One was the carcass of two horses stitched together and hung from the roof, one was the statue of a dead man with a bird eating his penis – a rendition of the first sight Siddhartha had when he left his palace, and one was a very intricate and detailed model of Nazi war. Skeleton Jews hanging Nazi soliders, beheading the corpses, violence and death and in the centre Ronald McDonald figures in a playground. It was intense and interesting and the more you looked the more you saw. I wish I could have taken a photo of it. It was so disturbing but totally brilliant all at once.
We carried on down to the river after this and saw birds there that looked suspiciously like Pukekos! On the way back – all uphill, my bike chain came off and a lovely woman stopped to help us get it back on. By the time we were cycling home, I was almost dead and the heat was stifling. We had a few hours relaxing and playing video games together, before we headed out for dessert at Eggless Dessert Cafe – Ollie’s cousin’s restaurant. It’s a gorgeous little place and all the desserts are to die for! Their menu changes each month, and we’re pretty sure we’re going to be some of those regular customers who end up in there once a month to try their new creations.
This is such an awful photo! But I had to include it, because it was so much fun to take. I used my cellphone and no one was happy with the outcomes, so we ended up taking FOUR and were completely blinded by the time they were over, which explains the slightly stunned expression on our faces.
Peachy plum and salted caramel crumble with my most favourite drink in all the world – Morrocan Mint tea! It’s to die for and it’s vegan! So very good.
A far cry from how we spent that day two years ago.
Kia Kaha Christchurch. For sixteen years you were my home. I miss you dreadfully sometimes.
Ollie’s building site as it is today. It’s so beautiful and green and peaceful. Hard to believe what took place there only two years ago. Thanks to Greg who took the photo on his way home that day. We love you. xoxo