You’d think God would be kinder to me. I mean, s/he’s thrown half a dozen significant earthquakes at me in the past nine months (hell, by comparison even pregnancy’s fun), and we’re being put through thousands of aftershocks, not to mention the loss of job security. Our city’s broken. Isn’t that enough?
I took on a part-time job. Just a little one. Hell, it barely even counts as a job! But it’s enough to let us have takeaways on a Friday night without a dose of the guilts – and that, folks, is a Big Deal for us just now.
Hi! Yep, I’m still here. I’ve been off-line a while – a loooong while – three months, in fact – and yes, I do have the odd excuse (including, on 22nd February, another horrific earthquake, so destructive it pretty much flattened what remained of our already-shaken inner city). Still, I’m sorry I haven’t been more in touch.
So much has happened in such a short time! One summer holiday spent in sunny Auckland. Two competition results for my WIP – third and fifth. Three extra weeks up in Auckland when, post-quake, our house was deemed unsafe until the chimneys were demolished. The incredible generosity and empathy of people all over the country – hell, the world – has been humbling, reducing me to tears so many times I’ve lost count. It’s taken a long time to get my mojo back, but finally I can say I’m writing again.
Twelve days on and we’re struggling to re-boot normality here in Christchurch, NZ.
It’s not that we can’t function: we can, and very well. Our infrastructures have withstood this crisis amazingly. Our civil defence emergency response teams have been excellent. Our community has come together to help each other through – I’m proud to live here. And, miraculously, no lives were lost.
But it doesn’t feel normal. The shops are open. School’s back in. People, if their job still exists, are back to work. But there’s a nervous edge to it. I avoid large shopping malls. I constantly check where my kids are. I startle at every low rumble. I quiz my son daily on what he should do in an earthquake.
We’ve had 611 quakes in twelve days. There’s nothing normal about that.
So off we went. Our first tropical holiday in years. Our first ever as a family of four.
We coped with the 5am start. We mostly coped with the first six hours of our seven-and-a-half hour journey, thanks to drugs (for the baby, not us), an in-flight bassinette, and individual in-flight screens which Master Six loved.
Then the baby woke.
If you’re a parent, imagine your child at their very worst. Then imagine holding them in your Read More…
We could all do with a holiday; I know that. But I needed one urgently. I started obsessing about it. If I didn’t get a holiday I’d . . . what? Throw tantrums? (already doing that) Go mad? (already there) Turn axe-murderess? (hmm, now, there’s a thought . . . )
Would it be murder or a holiday? I took the holiday option and booked flights quickly, before my partner or bank manager could disagree. Hell, I didn’t want to be responsible for any wayward axes.
Besides, I’d seen the magic words. CHEAP AIRFARES. I couldn’t resist. It sounded too good Read More…