Seeing as there have been three damaging earthquakes in less than a year, I am beginning to understand that Christchurch is not the place it once was. It seems like everything is mentioned or enjoyed with a grain of salt, that grain of salt being the threat of another terrifying and devastating earthquake. Nearly all of the metropolitan area is blocked off, and apparently this really cute hippie town on the coast was flattened. Everywhere there are evacuation maps and instructions, as well as traffic cones and fences and yellow tape everywhere. This guy came to our first orientation meeting to present a new class planned entirely around the earthquakes in Christchurch (CHCH101). He made sure to drill into our heads that many New Zealanders are really scared. Some don’t have homes, some have lost loved ones, and some are having to move out of their houses shortly. Although we are more than welcome in Christchurch, he encouraged us to be aware of what people here have been through, and how such a disaster is surely to happen again. The spontaneity of it all seems to be the most disturbing part, no matter how prepared one is, when you first start to feel that shake, there’s no sign, map, or plan that can combat that shocked fear. While I am sad that such a beautiful city has experienced such loss, I think living in such a town is a really good experience for me. As someone who is constantly searching for unattainable perfection, I am more than excited to grow from this experience and to see first hand how most of life is completely out of your control, and how you process and perceive such events is incredibly important. We’re going to do service work in Lyttelton (the cute hippie town) on Friday, I’m sure I will have plenty to say about the site, seeing as I have never really seen a serious disaster area. Also, if my schedule allows, I would love to take CHCH101, and I hope to learn more about the earthquake, but more importantly I hope to really challenge myself.
On a happier note, I met my whole group today! And, so far, I love them.
On an even happier note, I’m finally at my home stay! And can I just say, I am in the most adorable house with the most adorable couple with the most adorable poodle in the most adorable neighborhood. Graeme and Judy may be retired, but I can hardly keep up with them, and I’ve been here for about three hours. These New Zealanders are impressive, and I am still so charmed by the accents, everything they say seems to be straight from some quaint BBC quirky drama. Especially when they say things like “Anything else you need sweetheart, some tea? some drinking chocolate?” More pictures of these two and their house and doggy later.
I need to buy my Harry Potter tickets. I’m beginning to miss people from home, and am realizing that I will be gone for an entire semester, but with Graeme and Judy and the kids in my program, I think in two weeks I will know that I made the right choice.