I've pretty much blown my blogging schedule out of the water this week, I know. The reason is that today is a really important day for me and the rest of my city (and, in a way, the rest of my country), and I felt it would be insensitive to myself to not break from routine and mention it. So, you might find this post a little self-indulgent, but bear with me.
22 February 2011. One year ago today was the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, that claimed the lives of 185 people. I've talked about it a number of times since the conception of Writing Fire, whether it be directly after the event (like here and here) or later on (like here and here).
Today was a day of reflection. I keep thinking about what I was doing this time last year. I remember being so freaked out, and sitting around the table with my family in the dark after the sun had set, with no electricity, listening to the reports on the radio. It felt like we were in a war - which I suppose, in a way, we were. Us against nature.
It's so weird to think that it's been an entire year. In the last twelve months, I've had a ridiculous amount of time off school, I've shovelled silt (sand and water that bubbles up through the cracked ground) out of a number of peoples' yards, moved furniture, and I've gone to school from 1:00PM to 6:00PM. So much of my normal life was affected.
But then, so much went on as usual, too - at least for me. I ran this blog, I kept writing, kept reading, passed my exams, hung out with old people, met new people, experienced the ups and downs of teenage life (don't get me started).
And through everything, normal or not (if that word even has any meaning anymore), Christchurch has pressed on. We're starting out the other side. The journey to recovery has begun - and, yes, it has a long way to go - but it's begun. Things will never be exactly as they were, but different isn't necessarily bad. It just means getting used to a new future, but one that's no less bright than what might have been.
That's what the entire city remembered at 12:51PM today, the time when the quake struck one year ago. Hundreds of thousands of people observed two minutes silences, reflecting on the struggles and triumphs of the past year and looking to the future.
And, as a mark of respect, thousands of road-cones still marking off damaged areas were decorated with flowers. People went out and put roses and all sorts in the top of them, making something beautiful out of a symbol of destruction.
Kia kaha, Christchurch.