How to understand this blog

Thursday, September 9, 2010


The last week has been so entirely strange.

I loathe looters, and despair about humanity, and then feel incredibly uplifted to hear about some of the stuff going on, the best being brought out among the people of Christchurch.

I don't mind the aftershocks (over 300 so far), and almost find them exhilarating, in a way, and then feel terrible for feeling that way, given the effect they're having on our buildings, our ability to progress out of the emergency phase, and, just as important, the already-shattered nerves of so many people.

There's another kind of exhilaration - surviving something that could have been so catastrophic, being on the spot - at the same time as a sorrow at the hardship many people are experiencing right now.

It was announced today that we don't need to boil our water for three minutes before drinking anymore - yay! But now that I've got used to boiling, I still feel nervous drinking water straight from the tap - this is a tragedy because Christchurch water is beautiful, pure water and now my faith in it has been ruined. Let's hope temporarily!

I feel really worried about my mid-term future. I was hoping to finish my thesis by October. However, although the university will be able to open its buildings again by the 15th, we will not be able to use the library for the rest of the semester. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to deal with that. But at the same time this just seems so minor; I mean, if this is the worst that's happened for me, I'm really pretty lucky. So it's a weird balance.

I feel guilt. I've been babysitting for my siblings while their normal childcare centres have been closed, and I'm so glad I've been able to be useful in that sense. On Wednesday my flatmate and I delivered a few food parcels. But I decided not to go and help out all the hundreds of other students shovelling silt in the worst-affected areas because I had hurt my arms just before the first earthquake and don't want to cause further damage. Probably sensible. But I can't help feeling like a big wuss who is sitting round doing easy stuff while others are doing practical getting-hands-dirty stuff. And I decided to go down to Dunedin for the weekend to take advantage of this forced thesis-inactivity and see some of my family, but I feel incredibly guilty for skipping town.

Meanwhile, the aftershocks are still going, the condemned buildings are falling/being destroyed, and the expected bill is multiplying. I feel like I need to write poetry, but I'm not good at it, and would just get depressed at my lack of skill in making depressing subject matter lyrical.


heidikins said...

Ah honey, I can' understand your guilt, but know that I think you are amazing and wonderful and a ridiculously strong person.


Stacy said...

It's okay to make the best of the situation -visiting family, feeling a bit of exhilaration. That's how we survive.

And babysitting is helping. Your sister and brother-in-law would be in a sticky situation if they couldn't depend on you.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I remember how things slowly returned to normal after Hurricane Ike hit Houston a few years ago. Every little thing was a triumph. It will likely get better long before you expect it to.

Hang in there--sounds like you've got a great perspective.