Christchurch's Cathedral Square, as I photographed it in April 2009
I spent last weekend in Atlanta with a friend of mine who recently moved back home after living in Christchurch for a few years.
We shopped, ate lots of cupcakes, compared gossip about our mutual friends, and talked about the life she left in New Zealand and the earthquake they had last September. She still couldn’t believe how much of downtown was a mess, months later.
Last night I flew back home, and after I got off the plane I got out my phone to see what I missed during our four hours in the air. Turns out, a lot.
The photos I saw of Christchurch were heartbreaking. I was there just two years ago, although it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long because my memories are still very fresh.
I had hot chocolate with pink marshmallows in the Arts Centre cafe and took photos all around the Cathedral because there the Flower Festival was going on, so the whole square was covered in colour.Then I went into the Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House to see some of the local furry and feathered residents.
I met up with friends and we had Mexican pizza and listened to live music at the Dux de Lux. I walked through the brilliant, bright gardens and stayed in the YHA that’s now a good amount of rubble (although the early reports of deaths in that building are now said to be untrue). And I just can’t believe it’s the same place I’m seeing on the news.
Travelling in a place, even for a short while, makes it a part of you. It might sound a little silly to talk about being a World Citizen, but looking at the people in Christchurch, the streets where I wandered and took pictures, the parks where I ate lunch, the shops where locals tried to figure out my accent, it makes me feel as sad as if it had happened in my home town. I guess that’s the blessing, and the curse, of getting to visit a new place and connecting with the people there.
If you’d like to help, visit the New Zealand Red Cross.