So, the 20-teens finish in a couple of days and 2020 is the start of a new decade. I heard it referred to as the year of vision … a play on the 20/20 thing. But I liked that. So using my 20/20 vision I’m going to look back.
In 2010 I recall being excited at getting tickets to a U2 gig… both gigs in fact… not much else is big in my memory from that year as memories were knocked out of the park as it was also the year of the first Canterbury earthquake … a 7.1 magnitude at 4.35 am. I recall the dark, the power being off, and thinking I’d lost my roof. Turns out it was an ironing board that fell and blocked my access to the kitchen. Dawn came and the shakes were still going, but no immediate fatalities. Little did we know what was in store?
Not long after, and just before said U2 gigs, another disaster, this time taking tragically 29 lives. The Pike River mining disaster. 2010 did not end on happy notes. Continued shakes including the Boxing Day quake (I was out of town) which thankfully red stickered the building I worked in. I say, thankfully as less than two months later the February quake struck, and that building crumbled. So did many others, and 185 lives were lost and the life of Cantabrians changed forever.
I have often blogged about how fortunate I was, but the reality of living in a city that had continuous shakes for a good three to four years (and still the good old rumble even now) is something nobody truly understands unless they’ve been there. In 2016 Kaikoura learned what it was like, and there were two fatalities.
Then this year fate dealt my city another devastating blow, with the mosque attacks. While I wasn’t caught up at the mosque, I was at the hospital at the time and it was harrowing what I saw…. and that was nothing compared to those that were living the terror at the mosques or dealing with it at A&E. Out of sheer terror and hate dawned something marvellous, however. A city coming together. A city attending the call to prayer, a city laying flowers, a city donating what they could. And the country standing with us. We were not going to be divided. The earthquakes made many of us stronger, and we were determined to keep that strength and show our support to those amongst us threatened, many who were new to our city and had chosen us as a place to live.
I’m not sugar coating anyone’s experience. Mental health services are stretched in this city, thanks to a decade of stress. I have been lucky and have always counted my blessings for the support I have had.
From 2010 to 2019 there have been many joyous times! Lots of family happiness, lots of events to distract and entertain us, sports team to follow and be proud of, lots of festivals with food, wine and laughter. Music to rock out to, and I’ve had a few holidays to enjoy as well.
But it has been a decade to test us. Not just Cantabrians, but New Zealanders alike. The Whakaari / White Island added yet another tragedy, which we shared with the world and our closest mates, Australia, on which to end our decade. I’ve touched on but a few things, but they have been critical in our lives.
At this time of year, when we are setting goals, resolutions, spending time with loved ones and enjoying the summer, it is also a time of reflection.
I thank God – my version of God- in a country where I am free to do so. I am grateful for the blessings I have – family, friends, health, income and freedom. It has been a decade of sadness, tragedy, joy and happiness. It has been… life. We have no control over it, only how we deal with it, and I am also grateful for the strength within that has allowed me to deal with it.
I’m looking forward to the year of vision, may it bring you and yours what you most hope for.
Thanks for reading my blog this year.
Kia kaha and much love.