On the morning of February 22nd 2011 I was in Istanbul and got a text from a friend simply saying “have you heard about New Zealand?”…
Thoughts immediately went to my brother who lives on the North Island and after logging into BBC News a wave of relief settled my nerves as the earthquake I was now reading about was in South Island.
This emotion was quickly followed by one of compassion and concern for the community I had visited a little over a year ago and then a pang of selfish worry””Christchurch was the destination of my outstanding immigration application.
Over the next few hours and days the sad story unfolded as strangers, contacts and the general media tweeted, blogged, and covered their experiences.
A week later my application was approved.
The city is still getting aftershocks, the business district is a no-go area and needs to be rebuilt plus a few of the surrounding communities are still without water and sanitation.
So (the question from my Gran), why am I still moving there?
Apart from falling in love with the country and city, the basic reason for my emigration is adventure.
There was/is nothing wrong with my life other than the nagging feeling of wanting to explore new challenges and opportunities—moving to the other side of the planet creates that situation of starting again, establishing a home, a friendships, a business, a career, a life etc
In some way there’s a synergy between that and the city as it strives to rediscovers itself again. Christchurch will have to be re-imagined. Rebranded. Rebuilt. Relaunched.
Who knows what my attitude will be like when those aftershocks test my metal and I’m under no illusions it will be challenging to be in a place which has experienced such loss and devastation. It is not my city or home yet but it will be soon, and I don’t know how but in some way I’m hoping to positively contribute to the redevelopment.
So here goes nothing.
“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.”