I was sitting at my desk at work, eleven stories up, when I felt the earthquake.
It went on for a long time. So long that I sent a message out on twitter and saw both before and after my tweet, similar Wellington based messages. After it stopped I thought about it and decided that I really rather liked these little reminders that we are small and insignificant. And then I sent the message that starts this entry.
What I didn’t know then was that the earthquake I’d felt in Wellington was actually centred over three hundred kilometres away in Christchurch.
6 months ago Christchurch was rocked an earthquake. It hit in the early hours of the morning and there were no deaths or injuries.
It seems that was only a practice run.
This earthquake hit just before 1pm on a weekday. People were at work, at home, out at lunch. Exchange students were in classes and tourists were in the Cathedral. I was in my office, wondering why my screen was shaking.
Everyone I know spent that afternoon glued to the television.
Parliament rose early.
There was a profound sense of shock. We saw the shock we felt etched on the dust covered faces of the people in Christchurch. I watched the unedited footage and saw someone rescued from the top of a flattened building, I saw people loaded in to the back of SUVs as the city ran out of ambulances, I saw broken buildings and broken people.
We clung to social networking sites and I have never been more glad to have twitter. Never more glad to be able to help in my small small way.
I watched as messages headed into the ether, asking if this person or at person was okay, people sending messages that they were okay, offers of assistance. I retweeted what I could, getting messages to a wider audience, but terrified of sending out misinformation.
I have no family in Christchurch. There was no one I was frantically trying to get hold of. I am loath to admit how much the earthquake has affected me because, in the most basic sense, it has not.
But I live in Wellington. We have been warned how overdue for “the big one” our city is. There is the guilt that it should have been us and not Christchurch. There is the guilt that we are relieved it was not us.
I held Craig close that night. We decided on meeting places in Wellington and vowed to get a survival kit together. I thanked whatever gods there are out there that we were safe.
At the time of writing the death toll in Christchurch is 145. There are still more missing. Our garden city has made news across the world and international urban search and rescue teams have come to our aid.
I have donated. I have worn black. I will observe two minutes of silence.
I will offer all I can and do my job diligently and to the best of my ability. Christchurch needs the rest of New Zealand to keep the country running.
They are a little busy right now.
If you can please spare a dollar or two to help