Shaky Grounds: Our First Quake

photo courtesy: stuff.co.nz

Well, hello! It’s been a while. Dan and I are leading rather boring lives right now. Work, work, work! Dan is at Cassels & Sons, a local brewery, and I’m at Bloody Mary’s, a fine-dining steakhouse that’s connected to a large hotel chain. We’re learning new phrases and new things, which I’m keeping a list and will be sharing in a later post. It’s good stuff.

I did want to update and share our very first experience with a ‘severe’ earthquake. First of all, don’t fret. We’re fine. So is the city. Luckily, no injuries.

On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, the city of Christchurch experienced a 5.7 magnitude quake that erupted off the shore of New Brighton Beach. In case you weren’t aware, Dan and I live in New Brighton.

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Courtesy: stuff.co.nz

For those of you who have experienced an earthquake, I’m sure you can relate to how scary it can be. For those who have never experienced it, I will detail what it was like from our perspective.

Before I detail it, I want to remind you of the devastating earthquakes that destroyed many lives back in 2011: read about it here. Keep in mind how terrifying that experience must have been and how this recent one could really frighten and stir up those past memories. Also keep in mind, that the country has thousands of tremors a year and earthquakes are common in Christchurch. Many people are used to them. The ground shakes, people wait, the ground calms, people move on with their lives. However, the one on Valentine’s Day was the largest Christchurch has seen since 2011 and I cannot imagine how terrified some people were. Luckily, this wasn’t even close to devastating and only shook us up, emotionally. No pun intended.

Okay, here we go:

I had to be at work at 2pm, so I was in the bathroom getting ready and Dan was in the kitchen washing dishes. The ground started to shake and I immediately dropped to my hands and knees. I hear Dan call out: “BRITTANY!” Thinking he’s in trouble, I crawl around the corner to see him attempt to run towards me.

The ground was shaking so violently that Dan’s legs were like jello and he wobbly ran over to the bathroom. As he came toward me, a large cabinet filled with glassware, cookware and canned foods tipped over just behind him. It was like slow motion. He pointed to the door frame and yelled, “IN HERE! IN HERE!”

We huddled under the bathroom door frame; the loudness of the shake was almost deafening. It’s unexplainable. Shampoos were falling in the shower, lotions and soaps from the cabinet behind us, shattering glass in the kitchen; the walls were shaking the ground was vibrating. I yelled out, “HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO LAST?!”

Finally, what seemed like several minutes and was only a matter of seconds, it stopped. We remained for a moment and almost laughed from nervousness. Our anxiety was high and adrenaline was pumping. We stood up to assess the damage. I felt dizzy. I felt like I might vomit.

The large cabinet, luckily, got caught on the front door frame and hung over the floor by just one foot. Some glass had shattered, but the cabinet didn’t land face down. That was the only damage. We were lucky.

I quickly finished up and we headed downtown so I could go to work.

I walked in and a coworker saw how I was trembling. He pulled me outside to calm me down and explain that everyone has felt what I was feeling; it was okay. I was okay.

After talking to some more coworkers, we all shared our stories and how scary it was. The night continued and, of course, got busy. Customers shared their experiences, others weren’t in town and asked about it. At about 6:30pm, a 4.0 aftershock hit. Somehow, I was the only person not to feel it. I don’t know how, really.

Once I was done, Dan picked me up and shared the rest of his day. Malls were evacuated and shops were closed; he felt 10-12 aftershocks throughout the day. He cleaned the mess at home and suggested plasticware..

I think that might be a good idea.

The following day, we read up on it. We found out where it had originated from, how others were reacting, what damage had occurred, and even cliff faces that had fallen.

It was incredible that no one was injured. Great news, indeed.

Once again, we’re safe and sound. Life is good and we love Christchurch. Just got to get used to the shaky grounds.

 

Until next time,

-B

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