The evening of 23rd December 2011, after a tumultuous afternoon full of tears, fears and children’s general earthquake meltdown, we decided to try and lighten the evening by going ahead with the BBQ that we had already planned with friends.
Little Mr. wasn’t keen on going inside their house, (well any house at that point, actually) but was enticed by the very down to earth and matter of fact attitude of our friends daughter and foster daughter.
We had a chat to both privately about our kid’s afternoon reactions and they were quick to tell us kind heartedly that they would be sure take great care of them whilst they were playing together and would be careful to make sure that they felt really safe.
We arrived as our friends were cleaning up the mess that the quake had once again given them… the most pressing had been the rescue of the family goldfish, the tank got shaken off the chest of drawers it was on and toppled onto the floor.
Quick thinking and even faster action saw the girls save the fish, now all that remained was to clear up the sodden books on the bookshelf, dry out the wall and carpet and general cleanup of everything that had been displaced by the shaking.
Outside the Dad of the family was cleaning up by the garage door… there had been a neat stack of full soft drink cans sitting between a sturdy wood cupboard and the spare fridge-freezer and multiple cans exploded, somehow the force of the liquid ripped the can open around the tab line and everything blew out under pressure.
What was particularly bizare was that although the concrete garage floor was a mess with various overflowed soft drink puddles, the cans themselves looked completely undented on the sides , and expect for the obvious damage near the tabs there was no evidence that that they had been squashed or even slightly dented at any point at all.
I’m supposing that the speed and force of the vibrations though the ground must have been enough to jiggle the contents to bursting point as no other logical explaination fits.
The cans had been neatly stacked between two solid objects and maybe because they lacked the space to allow movment in any direction except “up”, all the energy was concentrated in that direction? Hmm who knows, and stupidly I forgot to take any photos of the cans but it was certainly some of the strangest earthquake damage they had seen so far.
The Kiwidutch kids were pleased to help out with the fish tank drama and relaxed visibly before dinner. The reassuring words and gung-ho attitude of the host girls, did wonders as these Christchurch kids brushed off fear completely ( publicly at least) and just got on with life.
I’m really proud of them because they are living in a house with some horrendous cracks in the walls, foundations and ceilings. In fact part of the house has sunk and is breaking away from the rest of the house and with each cluster of bigger aftershocks it’s getting worse.
In spite of this they are living in a zone classed as “Green”(deemed fit for repair) but massive repiling of their house will be necessary as well as other damage repair and there is now a battle between CERA and their Insurance company as to who is liable for what, so the whole situation is really stressful and there is little hope (realistically) of a quick solution.
They have every right to be completely and utterly stressed but are soldioring on as best they can whilst they wait for the repairs to begin. I’m amazed they re handling it as well as they are. I’m not altogether sure that I would be.
When we talked about what we fancied on the menu several days ago, the subject of lamb chops came up as a suggestion from us. We then learned that the price of lamb has gone up considerably in New Zealand recently and it’s been a shock for our lamb loving friends, so it’s been religated to “treat” status.
I’m afraid that when I heard the prices they mentioned I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud … and when I told them what we paid for lamb chops and leg roasts in The Netherlands they were truly horrified. (between double and triple the price)
We therefore very happily arranged that our contribution to the meal would be lamb chops and when we arrived with three trays of them they almost fainted… “we will never manage all those” they said… but they were sooo good, from BBQ to table they didn’t stand a chance as we lamb-chop deprived diners enjoyed every last one of them.
Kiwi Daughter was now more relaxed and wanted to go on the trampoline, she took turns with the other girls but Little Mr was still in scared limpet mode so we didn’t push him to participate.
The Dad of the house then said to Kiwi Daughter, lets do some tricks on the trampoline together.. she was a little nervous at first as they had to bounce in complete synchronisation… he held her left hand with his right hand and when they got to a decent height he gave her a big boost with his arm on the up-bounce an she flew up really high. He was of course still hanging onto her hand so she was in no danger of flying off anywhere.
Once she mastered the technique of the synchronised bounce , she even managed to dare to reach out with her other hand on the big up-bounce to touch the fronds of the punga tree above.
I’ve managed to master the art of exceptionally bad photo-editing to show you a shot of the up-bounce trick without actually showing the participants. No, they aren’t ghosts, even though Kiwi Daughter’s face did a good impression of one earlier in the day during the more frightening moments.
In fact earlier in the day she was so scared she felt physically sick… I’ve made a new word for this phenomonon… I told her she had a “bellyquake”.
It’s nice to see her trying so hard to be brave, and finally letting out a few squeals of delight as she managed to touch the tree above… kids are nothing if not resilient, and Christchurch Kids have had to be more resilient than most since September 2010. Bravo to them all.