“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
It had been my plan to write a blog about people in Christchurch making a fresh start after the earthquake.
Last week I met a waiter who, in his words, had “survived” the two major quakes and decided not to tempt fate with a third. He has now made Wellington his home.
An interesting choice, given that our capital is supposedly one of the most quake prone cities in the country. But to him, the focus has solely been on getting out of Christchurch. Based in the central city, he hasn’t even been back to collect his belongings. He just wanted out.
That’s what I was going to write about but then one of the biggest earthquakes ever in recorded history, struck the North East coast of Japan and a tsunami followed. There simply don’t seem to be enough adjectives to describe it. Today the Dominion Post’s banner called it “Apocalypse”.
And indeed it is.
Every day I have woken up hoping to hear that overnight rescue workers had found a miracle survivor from last week’s Christchurch earthquake. Day after day, my hope continued, despite constant images of the utter devastation the earthquake caused.
Now, it seems, that hope is all but gone. The rescue operation is now focused solely on recovery. While this provides certainty for families wondering what had happened to their loved ones, it must also be so incredibly sad, as I am sure, that like all of us, they had hoped for a miracle, but now the last shred of hope is gone.
Today was another poignant day for us all. At 12.51 exactly one week after last week’s Christchurch earthquake, the nation was asked to observe two minutes silence as a mark of respect for the victims.
I, along with my colleagues, stood in silence and thought about the devasting loss many families now face. So many people’s lives will never be the same again, in so many ways. It was so silent.
As the bells of St Pauls Cathedral rang after the silence ended, I couldn’t help thinking how it was always meant to be us, here in Wellington, who would fall victim to a large earthquake. This time it wasn’t. Again, it is so close, yet they are so far.
Some of the stories that are now emerging from last week’s Christchurch earthquake are truly heartwarming.
Earlier in the year, I received an email at work with some thoughts that I think are worth sharing – now more than ever.
- Take breaks, morning tea and lunch are important for all kinds of good reasons, all work and no play etc…..
- Breath, it might sound silly but when we get stressed we hold our breath so take a minute and take some slow deep breaths
- Focus on what you can do, not what you think others are doing wrong
- Be kind…..one random act of kindness even if it’s holding a door or smiling at someone you would rather ignore makes a difference
- If you have nothing nice to say…..say nothing
- Take care of each other.
As the days go by and we all watch the impact of the Christchurch earthquake with continuing disbelief, I, like many others, find myself wondering what I can do to help.
Here in Wellington there are numerous appeals and clever ideas to help the people of Canterbury. People amazing at times of disaster.
Here’s a couple that I’ve decided to support:
The Canterbury region is going to need support for the weeks and months to come and I know that we will all do our best to support them as much as we can.
My blog has been sorely neglected this year, for reasons that I won’t go into here. Suffice to say I had finally found inspiration again and was ready to start blogging when the massive Christchurch earthquake struck.
There simply does not seem to be words to express what we are all feeling at this time. It is unimaginable that a disaster of this scale is happening in our own country – to our friends and our families. We are so close and yet we are so far away. We are all holding out hope that there will be miracles but as the hours pass, the tragedy only seems to be getting bigger.
We are all thinking of you, the people of Canterbury. As if you had not already endured enough, we wish you, and the incredible people who are helping you, the courage and strength you need to somehow get through this disaster.
It would be fair to say that generally the weather here in Wellington is not the greatest. OK, it’s pretty bad most of the time. But this weekend the weather gods were shining on our capital. It was sunny, it was warm and there was no wind. Quite simply, it was joyous.And we decided to make the most of it.
We headed over to the Orongorongas for a walk in the bush and paddle in the river. It turned out that the walk we had thought was an hour, was more like two, so with two little people in tow we stopped just after an hour. We did a small bush bash down to the river and found a spot to enjoy our picnic lunch and for the children to have a paddle in the cool water.
It’s been a while since we’ve headed into the bush and after this experience, I wondered why. There is something magical about the wilderness and it’s even more so when you are less than an hour’s drive from a city. We are spoilt here to have such easy access to wilderness areas. Admittedly, many would argue it isn’t true wilderness but when you have two little people to take with you then wilderness takes on a different meaning. We need well-defined and wide tracks and not too many hills. Luckily for us areas like this relatively near to where we live abound.
During our walk we saw flowering ratas, a wood pigeon who glared down at us when we stopped to admire his colouring and numerous varieties of trees and plants to examine. The girls had a ball and so did we.
For me, there is something restorative about being in the bush with the sounds and sights of nature. It could be the effect being surrounded by lush green tree tops with sun filtering through or the sound of water flowing over river stones, or perhaps it is jut being away from the demands of day-to-day life. It doesn’t really matter. Several hours after starting our walk, and even with two hungry, tired children, I felt like a new person. Luckily for me summer seems to have finally arrived and so we will be able to do it more and for longer – time to rediscover the tent!
Recently I started a new contract with a different organisation. It’s always a bit daunting starting a new role but one of the things I love about working in Wellington is that it really is a village.
My new boss is someone I have worked with before in two other places and in my first few days I have met no less than five people who I have worked with in other organisations. It makes such a difference to see familiar faces when your environment is unfamiliar.
When I mentioned this to my colleagues they had all had similar experiences. It is one of the great things about working in a smaller country, not only is Wellington a village, New Zealand as a whole is really only a town and I love it for that!