zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
[personal profile] zeborah
Thank you everyone for your messages; I don't have time to reply individually but they mean a lot. Thanks especially to @snailx for relaying my message (via my sister's cellphone) that I was safe when I had no other comms. For those who that message didn't wend its way to, I'm fine, family's fine, and I've even seen evidence that the cat is also alive.

Photos at Flickr.

Tuesday I was at work at the uni; things started quaking and I moved very gracefully under my desk. Eventually it stopped shaking and we evacuated. Students were pretty calm. A couple minor cuts from glass. While waiting around to keep people from going back inside (having dashed inside ourselves for our bags...) we witnessed a motorcycle accident; those involved got immediate first aid and seemed okay when a handy policeman drove them away (we'd called for an ambulance but... yeah, no, that wasn't happening).

My cellphone was handily out of money so I could receive texts (family safe) but not reply. Did get a message through from another friend's phone.

My first thought had been to bus home; I soon realised I might be waiting some time so decided to walk instead, but a friend had a friend who took us. A 20 minute drive to my parents' took a good two hours due to traffic. I stayed ten minutes chatting (they have no power, water, or sewerage) then walked hiked/waded to my place - lots of mud and potholes and buckled asphalt and collapsed buildings and traffic at a standstill.

My house is one of the lucky ones in the street. There's a window broken (but the house was being painted so plastic is over all the windows anyway) and an old chimney outside my bedroom wall looks like it'll come down at some point with not much encouragement; there's also lots of cracking inside but I think (pending a qualified assessment) that it's structurally sound. Not so every third house which has had a firewall, or the houses to their left, which... have a new firewall... I also have a neighbour's chimney through my fence and some new sand volcanoes in the garden.

What I don't have is power, water (except that in the hot water cylinder or in bottles), sewerage, or (as of Wednesday) a landline.

So I grabbed my go-bags from by the door (the bag that only a couple of days before I'd been thinking of as 'paranoid'), rearranged one slightly to suit the occasion, and hiked back to my parents' for the night. (With a lift from a stranger partway; the traffic in that direction was clearer.)

Aftershocks continue; me and my parents are very near the epicentre. Thursday's paper (even Wednesday morning I went outside for some air and there was a newspaper in the drive!) says "more than 50" but we were having 50 an hour (albeit mostly small ones) on Tuesday evening. I counted three in a minute more than once. Admittedly some are the 20-second-delayed 'echoes' of larger ones. Dinner was gas-cooked and lit by candlelight. I slept (eventually, a bit) in a sleeping bag under the kitchen table, my sisters in their own spots in the same room.

Wednesday I took my Mum's bike to my house and cleaned up the kitchen and broken window, then helped some neighbours shovelling mud out of their driveway/gutters. Biked back to parents', though walked partway since my tiredness and inexperience and the mud and the traffic and the bike being too big for me combined to reduce my confidence. (Wednesday night while drifting to sleep I had a flash-dream of my foot slipping in that mud.) Tried without success to either recharge or add money to my cellphone. Did hear from friends in a less affected suburb and phoned them via the landline. Was brave enough to sleep on the couch, slightly better than Tuesday night - the aftershocks were down to one every several minutes.

Thursday decided to visit said friends to take advantage of their internet. (I have messages from much of my family for the outside world too.) This involved a hike of about three hours. I went the first leg to my house, tidied up the books in the lounge, saw that the cat had been eating catfood until an aftershock startled her, then slathered on the sunscreen and set off. The first half or so of the journey was through devastation but eventually I got to a road where traffic was free enough (and I was tired enough) that I stuck out my thumb and hitched a ride down half of Cranford St. When the first guy dropped me off, I'd barely walked ten metres before someone else saw my pack and took me the rest of the way, up Main North Road to my friends near the Styx bridge.

(I'm missing out so many all the conversations with neighbours I barely recognise in my neighbourhood, and with strangers while hiking around.)

I now have everything recharging and internet. Actual communications that don't require a battery! I actually feel guilty for enjoying this luxury. I plan to stay the night and then tomorrow (hitch)hike back in time a century to my parents' again. There's no timeframe on the resumption of power and water, let alone sewerage. Days/weeks for power and weeks/months for water, probably.

So if you've got questions, ask them now because contact will likely be patchy after tomorrow morning. That's a request; I do want to talk more but... this is big and overwhelming and my brain is poorly functional so it'll just be easier to answer questions.

I'm making this journal my communications centre for simplicity's sake; if you can comment here rather than elsewhere it'll be easier to deal with. OpenID or anonymous are both fine.
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Hugs. Wow. Hugs

Date: 2011-02-24 04:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
My goodness. This reads like you are inside a John Marsden novel. Be safe. Hugs. Feels like there is not much we can do from this distance, but please know others are feeling for you and what you are going through. If you have suggestions about the most useful place to direct aid or donations for people interested in cultural institutions, then it would be most welcome. (Or is food and sewerage much more pressing for everyone?)

Re: Hugs. Wow. Hugs

Date: 2011-02-24 04:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry - forgot to put my name - Kathryn Greenhill in Australia

Glad you're okay!

Date: 2011-02-24 04:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
have been thinking of you.
-Shweta

(That's all. I don't need a response & don't want to take up more time/bandwidth :))

Date: 2011-02-24 04:56 am (UTC)
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
From: [personal profile] starlady
So good to hear from you and that you and your family are, well, obviously not all right, but all in one piece--I'd heard via someone on LJ that you were okay, but it's much better to read about it in your own words. Anything I can think of to say seems inadequate, but take care all the same.

Phew!

Date: 2011-02-24 05:00 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was overjoyed to receive the text from your sister :-) and passed on your message to twitter generally, irina, @reporat, and a few other folk as queries arose. Plus updated your entry (created by Dorothea) on the people finder.

I was so happy in fact, that I opened a bottle of red a friend had given me for my birthday. I then sent the "thank you for the red" message to your sister and not my friend. D'oh! :-) All I could think was that her already low battery was going to run out while reading that message.

As you say, you're effectively rewinding a century...so not only is there the immediate effect of continuing quakes, but also the loss of stuff you otherwise take for granted...like comms.

Happy to give you a call if you need to chat

@snailx

Date: 2011-02-24 05:26 am (UTC)
deird1: lilac flowers, with text "how do they rise up" (Default)
From: [personal profile] deird1
I'm glad you're okay! I've been wondering.

*hugs*

Date: 2011-02-24 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] dsgood
Glad you, family, and cat are okay!

Date: 2011-02-24 05:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi, Becky from NY here. I am soooo relieved at seeing this message. I have been sick with worry and anxiety for all of you, and the damage done to such a beautiful city. Please hug your family for me (and boots) and know that there are a lot of folks here praying for you guys. And if you need -anything- let us know and we will try to help.

Date: 2011-02-24 06:17 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You poor thing!

I'm north of Wellington. If there's anything I can do, anything I can send, anything I can provide, just shout out. (horace_hamster on livejournal)

All of New Zealand is behind Christchurch one zillion percent. Whatever people need, we will give.

Date: 2011-02-24 06:25 am (UTC)
annathepiper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] annathepiper
Relieved to hear you're okay; was thinking of you when the news about the quake broke. I hope you and yours continue to be okay!

Date: 2011-02-24 06:28 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
After hearing from @snailx and passing on the good news, all I was worried about was the cat. Glad your house is sort of okay, too (poor books and plates, though!)

I understand that this still isn't "the Big One" you've been worried about, as it's not the Alpine fault but the other one that went in September. Our paper says it might even be a huge aftershock of the September one, but what do they know about earthquakes being in the Netherlands where the ground only shakes when they take too much gas out of it.

Date: 2011-02-24 06:29 am (UTC)
ext_245057: painted half-back picture of me that looks more like me than any photograph (Default)
From: [identity profile] irinarempt.pip.verisignlabs.com
Gah, that was me, forgot to check the openID button.

Re: Glad you're okay!

From: [personal profile] ajk - Date: 2011-02-24 10:17 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-02-24 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
Glad you and your family are okay.

I'm almost envious for all the story stuff you'll be getting from this adventure. (Remembering the definition of adventure, it's definitely "almost", though.)

There is a Finnish saying: se, mikä ei tapa, vahvistaa. Take care.

Date: 2011-02-24 06:29 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
Yikes! Glad to hear you're okay! That sounds like quite a mess -- and it seemed like you'd just about almost gotten over the last one, too.

Glad the cat seems to be surviving, too.
Edited Date: 2011-02-24 06:31 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-02-24 06:55 am (UTC)
hrj: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hrj
Glad to hear you're ok -- and many thanks to those who relayed your first message out almost before I'd had time to be worried! When things start settling down, do let us distant friends know if there's anything we can do to help. (Personally, I mean -- the usual infrastructure stuff is understood.)

Annafdd here

Date: 2011-02-24 07:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello sweetie, I am so relieved to hear from you, and this brings back dreadfully vivid memories of my own brush with quake in 1976. The sentence "I was brave enough to sleep on the sofa" brought oh so visceral a memory. Hugs, and good luck.

Date: 2011-02-24 07:44 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You will be OK here tomorrow, our power is back on. Yay! Just in time to rescue the stuff in the freezer. Everyone madly dived for their computers (and mine is still going, even after being rudely thrown on the floor by the quake)

Date: 2011-02-24 07:57 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
I am so glad you're all right! And your family and cat and house.

Date: 2011-02-24 08:08 am (UTC)
julesjones: (Default)
From: [personal profile] julesjones
Good to see you back online, even if temporarily. I saw the news, went looking on twitter and immediately found the pass-on message from Irina, which was a great relief.

Date: 2011-02-24 11:10 am (UTC)
ext_245057: painted half-back picture of me that looks more like me than any photograph (Default)
From: [identity profile] irinarempt.pip.verisignlabs.com
Very thankful that I could catch that just before going out for the whole day, or many people (myself included) would have been much more worried.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] llygoden - Date: 2011-02-24 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-02-24 08:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jennygadget.livejournal.com
I just wanted to say that I am very happy to hear that you are ok, I hope things improve some soon, and thank you for letting us all know what's up.

Date: 2011-02-24 10:12 am (UTC)
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
From: [personal profile] cyphomandra
I keep meaning to say "hi", as a fellow NZer who posts on the 50 books PoC, and especially as I'm also from Chch. Obviously these are not ideal circumstances. I'm glad you and your family are okay. Mine likewise, although as my house is in the CBD I'm currently a displaced person, initially within the city and now (somewhat guiltily) in Sydney - more details on my blog. It's all still sinking in - the actual quake was bad, but it wasn't until I tried to walk home (which I usually do through the CBD) and saw my first completed collapsed building that I realised just how bad it was going to be. Horrible.

Anyway. If you want to meet up for a drink and book discussion at some more settled time, consider this an invitation. All the best.

Date: 2011-02-24 10:36 am (UTC)
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
From: [personal profile] caper_est
No questions - just glad you're safe and wanting to add my best wishes. It was a great relief to hear news of you so quickly, thanks to Irina and the gang. Look after yourself and stay well: sending good thoughts to everyone who's caught up in this mill!

Date: 2011-02-24 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry this happened, glad you and your family are reasonably OK. No questions, just good wishes.

Tim Silverman

Date: 2011-02-24 12:34 pm (UTC)
libskrat: (souza)
From: [personal profile] libskrat
Didn't like when you were lost; VERY GLAD you're found!

Date: 2011-02-24 02:22 pm (UTC)
bentleywg: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bentleywg
I'm glad you're fine and everyone of yours is fine.

I'm interested in go bags and have read a lot about them, but a lot of the lists seem unrealistic. So, what all goes in a real-life go bag? And do you include documents in yours? Thanks.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] ajk - Date: 2011-02-24 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] bentleywg - Date: 2011-02-24 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand

of towels

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2011-02-24 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-02-24 02:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seratonation.livejournal.com
no questions, im glad you and the fam are ok. were watching the news from auckland and its just heartbreaking. i hope you get water/power back soon.

and im really glad you could do this, because no matter how much the news talks about it its still hard to imagine what its like for everyone.

not a creepy stalker, btw, your name passed my feed on twitter and i rt'd, just went back to make sure you were found :)

Date: 2011-02-24 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] llygoden
I was so relieved to get the message via irina and [personal profile] julesjones that you and your family were OK, but it's so good to see you posting in person, albeit briefly. It's been all over the news here and the pictures look really bad.

Just take care. You're becoming a real expert on dealing with earthquakes and their aftermath. You're all in my thoughts, including Boots.
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