What a year 2011 has been. One of the biggest years of my life, I’d say. Here how it shook down (earthquake humour):
January: Wedding planning in earnest. We conceive a idea to buy our own house.
February: The month that changed everything. How can I describe it? It was the most exciting and the scariest time of my life. On the morning of February 22 I warned my workmates that I might be a little more stressed than usual that week. It seems funny now, the things I was worried about.
March: My wedding day was one of the best days of my life (besides seeing my beautiful children for the first time, and graduating from university). The rest of March was all about trying to buy our house and making new plans. We won our B Grade ice hockey final. Go Rangers!
April: We move into our house. Our little nana house that we love so much. Never mind that it didn’t have flush toilets. It’s ours.
May: Regrouping. Trying to find normal, and succeeding to an extent. We get new carpet, our house begins to feel like a home.
June: The month starts off well enough. Normality has descended. We get a flush toilet! And then June 13th happens. It feels like square one again. Luckily it isn’t, but it’s hard for a while.
July: We buy tickets for our honeymoon! We get a dishwasher installed and find out we can use our en-suite bathroom – the pipes have been cleared. Luxury.
August: Running. Lots of it. Trying to cast off the difficulties (and flab) of the past few months. It feels good to hit the pavement.
September: We commemorate and celebrate. The first anniversary of the earthquake that started it all, and Arlia’s first birthday the next day. A steady month of running, hockey, family and spring.
October: Bronwen turns 11. Opononi! A fabulous family holiday in the north, not a lot of sleep was had. Rounded out at the end with the opening of the Cashel Container Mall. It feels like a tentative new beginning for our broken city.
November: Birthdays, too numerous to count. I travelled, a lot. Work work work and more work, and I love it! I celebrate my birthday by passing my driver’s test. Legit at last. The top comes off the Hotel Grand Chancellor as the slow deconstruction begins. Our local mall The Palms reopens, much to our relief and indescribable joy.
December: Lots of work. Some days it feels like I’m too busy to breathe. Running, skating, hockey and family keep me centred. We get the last of our contents claim payments from the EQC, HURRAH! The deconstruction of our suburb begins, little bit by little bit. And sadly, another earthquake, followed by still more juddering aftershocks. I’ve come to the realisation that it might not end for years. Can I bear it? Yes, because I have to.
So, what sums up this year? It was a year of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m glad to see it end and I’m ready to move on. This year has been a defining year. The events of 2011 have set a cycle that we’ll be playing out for years to come. I think (I hope beyond hope!) that the hard bits are behind us. What lies ahead are building, rebuilding, consolidation. Both personally for my family and our home, and for our city too.