Picture: Manchester Street, just off where I work. Very thankful the language centre is OK
It is now a full day since the monumentous earthquake rocked Canterbury, and Cantabrians find themselves changed forever. The safety and sanctity of their idyllic little world came crashing down the very instant the first brick dislodged and disintigrated onto the ground.
The city centre is now in lockdown. There is a police curfew in effect from 7pm to 7am, relegating Christchurch to become a ghost town after dark. Businesses are expected to be closed for at least a week. My language centre is closed for a few days at least. The University of Canterbury declared a closure until Monday the 13th.
And yet, be that as it may, I see Cantabrians still getting on with life. The streets are a lot quiter, and there aren't as many people jogging, but the mail is still sent, flyers from supermarkets about their latest price promotions still litter the lawn, dogs are still being walked.
Life seems to have returned to normal, though at a slightly more subdued pace.
However, the prognosis is bleak, though not dire. The bad weather seems to have just started, and I see thick clouds in place. It is cold today, and I have switched on an extra heater in the living room. Winds haven't started yet, but the met service predicts strong gusts up to 120kmph today and tomorrow.
The people whose homes were damaged in the quake would be affected the most. Most of them are in relief centres stretched across the suburbs where they are given food and a warm place to sleep. But it is not that that makes them most affected. It is that they will never be able to feel completely safe and secure in their own homes again, or at least for a very long time.
I am lucky the quake did not do significant damage to my house or my neighbourhood.
But no matter how many times I go through them, I am still not accustomed to the aftershocks which still make the house tremble, even a day and a half after the event of the quake.
As yesterday, even as I type this entry, I hear a deep boom in the distance, which is followed by the rattling of the house.
I think the worst is over, but the experience itself is still far from it.