Saturday, June 25, 2011

Home is where the heart is

The T-shirt says it all.
I've been seeing lots of comments on Facebook and Twitter from Out-of-Towners about why stay in Christchurch, and how could you stand watching your kids go all through that stress?  And how on earth can you cope with all of this?  A few days ago I wrote about how I'm coping, and this post will attempt to answer why I'm staying.  (I can only write about my own experiences, and I'm aware that there are many many people a lot worse off than we are, and will feel differently in different circumstances.)

This is my home.  I was born in Christchurch, and spent my childhood here.  This time-lapse video made me feel homesick the first time I saw it, so many of my favourite places in this video are now broken.

These photos are just a handful of what I took over Spring and Summer, between the September and February quakes.  

Spring 2010
Anita from Dreaming Beneath the Spires inspired me when she wrote:
"I have a longing now for rootedness. To stay in a place for a long time. To know its seasons. Its plants and trees and flowers and wildlife. Its history. The same people over a period of years. To settle down."

This city is where I experience rootedness, stabilty, belonging. This is my community.  

At this time my community, my city needs me.  And I need it.  In any other city or town I would feel displaced, a refugee, and not quite belonging.

Botanic Gardens, Feb 2011 Before Quake

Kowhai - Spring 2010. 

Christchurch has some huge challenges ahead as it rebuilds, and it needs people committed to being part of that rebuild.  I've been participating in the community consultation run by the council to put together a plan for the City Centre.  Mayor Bob Parker said at the Memorial Service that we find meaning in what has happened by finding inspiration for moving forward and rebuilding.  It helps to feel that I'm part of something positive, something that brings hope.  

Botanic Gardens, Feb 2011 Before Quake
Peacock Fountain, Botanic Gardens

Hope.  I want to be part of creating a stronger, better city.  I want to be part of a city that keeps its focus on community.  We've learned about how community makes us strong.  Everyone knows their neighbours, and actually does look out for each other.  Strangers look after each other.  The shared experiences of everyone in this city has created a bond between us.  We've just had the Winter Solstice.  In the darkest night of the year is the hope that sunlight and warmth will eventually return.  In the middle of the coldest winter, is the hope of spring.

Faith.  When I felt completely broken it was faith that sustained me.  Not just faith in God, but also faith in this city.  Faith in its people, its communities.  We have a strong spirit, and will work together. We can do this.

Love.    Prince William told us that grief is the price we pay for love.  I love and I grieve, and because I love I will be part of rebuilding and restoring.  Not only my love for this city.  My love for its people.  My love for this community.  Love is what ties everything together.  Love is what makes this my home.

There are some people I know that aren't coping, and have left the city.  Some plan to return once the aftershocks start to settle down, others won't be back.  Each family has different circumstances, and different coping resources.  

But as for me, and my family, this is our home.  This is where we will stay.  We will come through this.  And we will restore and rebuild a better, more beautiful city than before.  And I will be a part of that.

Having a go at a linky thing with Tartankiwi.


  1. This is home.... I don't want to leave.

    I can see why people will.... But that isntheir right.
    Take care

  2. A beautiful and heartfelt post. I feel that its important for us to write these posts and share our hopes and aspirations, not just our fears and worries. Thank you so much for joining in.

  3. Nicely written. You are fortunate to have that rootedness. (I'm still looking)

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone!

    @Louise - hope your next move will be a step closer to finding somewhere to put down roots. Good luck with that.