Why I write

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song

If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,

Threatening the life it belongs to

And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd

Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud

And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to

But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,

And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table

No one can find the rewind button now

Sing it if you understand.

And breathe, just breathe.

 

— Breathe (2AM),¬†Anna Nalick

The house

We were due to confirm the purchase of our new house yesterday. The inspections had all been completed and all that remained was to meet with our bank manager and work out the details. All that’s changed now.

The house has been reinspected and revalued. Structurally, it’s still sound. There is some damage to the back of the house where an addition was built some years ago, and it has slumped a little. But it’s fixable and covered by an EQC claim.

More problematic is the valuation of the property. The valuer no longer believes the house is worth what we offered for it, because of the liquefaction on the property and surrounding streets and suburbs. He has revalued the place significantly lower than our original offer. So now we are in a difficult position of not being able to get finance for the amount we offered to pay for the house.

Luckily we are not bound to our offer – it was subject to valuation and the value has changed. We can offer the vendor a lower price, and we probably will. Whether they accept this lower offer is beyond our control.

If the sale falls through, we are homeless at the end of the month. We are just so very lucky that we can rely on the kindness and support of family to house us until we can figure out what to do next.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. We fell in love with our cute nana house and we really want to start our married life together in it. But what will be, will be.

The wedding

So I got married the other day. March 1st to be exact. It’s the day Stephen and I met, two years ago. It was a blind date, we went to see Man on Wire. And held hands. It was lovely. He was lovely. He proposed to me on March 1st last year, on our first anniversary. I’ve been planning this wedding for a year.

On our long walk home through the sludge and water on earthquake day, Phil and I talked about the wedding. Should Stephen and I still go ahead with it? Could we still do it, logistically? I wasn’t sure, but I knew that I had to give it a try. It wasn’t any random date, it was our day.

One of the first things I said to Stephen when we finally made it home was, “I still want to try and get married next week”. He wholeheartedly agreed. So we waited for the dust to settle, then we started the call-around. Some of the event team contacted us. They were just as concerned as we were that things go to plan. It added some normalcy to my everyday in a difficult time. Eventually everyone checked in and we were good to go.

In the end, our wedding wasn’t exactly as I planned it. Small details were forgotten, but it doesn’t matter. It was an amazing day for me. It made me cry to look out into the faces of my favourite people, smiling happily for me and Stephen. And to be able to see everyone, give them a hug, that was priceless.

Mr and Mrs Frayle

The earthquake

Kim and I were sitting at our purple lunch table. George, one of Synapsys’ contractors, wandered over and sat down with us. We hadn’t seen him for a while, so we were catching up. The room started to rattle, but it took us a moment to react – we’ve had so many aftershocks now they don’t really bother me. This one was different.

As the intensity increased, Kim and George slid under the table and I jumped up and braced myself in a nearby doorframe. I could see James skating around the kitchen, he was shouting something but I couldn’t hear him over the noise.

I could hear Phil shouting too, but didn’t know what he was saying either. I kept my head down, feet firmly planted and held on. It was over in about 20 seconds, and I can quite honestly say that it was the slowest 20 seconds of my life. As the shaking stopped, Phil’s shouting became comprehensible:
“GET OUT NOW” … “GET AWAY FROM THE WALL” … “DON’T STOP TO GET ANYTHING JUST GET OUT”.

I ignored him for a moment to make my way over to Kirsty’s desk. I couldn’t see her and I didn’t know she had gone out for lunch a few minutes earlier. Once I could see she wasn’t there, I grabbed my phone and ran. We got out and down and away. Phil was last out, checking that everyone exited safely. We stood together in a huddle in the middle of the street, with all the other people who streamed out.

The image I come back to in my mind over and over is looking up and around and seeing the fallen buildings. It was hard to comprehend. There were people in those buildings. What happened to them? Did they get out? Kirsty did. She picked her way through the rubble to join us.

Then my thoughts turned to making contact. I called Stephen and got through after several tries. “Hallo, that was a big one!” he said. Bit of an understatement I thought. But I knew at least that it was centred in town – it hadn’t resonated from out his way. I could tick off Grace, Arlia, Antony and Wyatt as safe then. My next thought was Megan. She could be anywhere. And yet, just as I considered this, she walked out of the rubble towards me. She had been waiting for a bus in the centre of the city. I’ve never been so happy to see her.

There is more, but I won’t write about it now – getting out of the city, the long walk home, the aftermath. Maybe later.

The one where we take a breath

It’s 4:30am and I can’t sleep. I’m in Tekapo. I’m awake because my brain is worried about my family back in Christchurch and must have decided to wake me up so I can keep it company. On September 4th last year, I was woken up at 4:35am by a slow rolling earthquake. I was in Tekapo then too, and assumed it was the result of some movement in the Alpine Fault. It didn’t feel like much, so I went back to sleep.

Last Tuesday it really felt like we were getting back on track from that earthquake. We had a staff meeting in the morning where we talk positively about new projects and moving forward after some hard months. I mentioned that I might be a bit more stressed than usual with the wedding coming up the following Tuesday. I’d love to go back to the purple lunch table and be that stressed again.

I’m going to recount the past week’s activities in bits. There is the bit about the earthquake, the bit about the wedding, and the bit about the house. Stay tuned.