I’m back from Christchurch. I’ve been back for about a week now, just mulling things over before letting myself write anything down. I haven’t any photos. I was there for work, not as a tourist. It felt obtrusive to raise my camera for anything other than essential records. It was a busy week and I am glad to be able to go home. As I talk it out with my family, I can see the way I saw that week changing. If I was to use one word, it could only be sobering.
If I was to boil my impressions down to three things it would be these:
Everyone I spoke to feels fortunate.
Those who have left their houses, those who have sent family members out of town, those who had close calls. None of them saw themselves as being the worst off.
Sometimes feeling fortunate can be hard.
There are a lot of people thinking – What if? What if I hadn’t run? What if I had been on a different bus? What if I had been in that car?
It’s not going to be the same.
People are talking about a new normal. I hadn’t spent more than a few days in Christchurch since I lived there as a student. It was a city that I left home for, met many of my best friends in, fell in love in, and I spent a lot of time growing and learning there. It doesn’t look the same. For those that live there, much of it doesn’t feel the same. It’s going to take some time for it all to get to normal and when it does, it will be a new normal.