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It is now coming up on two weeks since the horrifying 6.4 earthquake , 11km deep, ravaged Christchurch and caused death, destruction and total chaos to the city and its inhabitants. Not in the very least, coupled with the 7.1 earthquake on 4 September 2011 and the 5000 or so ensuing aftershocks to date, it has frayed my nerves almost to the brink of exhaustion. I am unable to concentrate on anything at this point in time, and if that wasn’t enough, the 4.8 aftershock followed by 3 subsequent aftershocks were significant enough to put me teetering on the edge.
Initially after the first major Canterbury quake, the aftershocks, though annoying and sometimes a little hairy, were bearable because of the knowledge that they wouldn’t be as bad as the initial quake. Well, after the untold destruction of the 22 February quake, and a death toll approaching 200, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Before it used to be “oh, it’s just an aftershock”. Now it’s “is this a big one?”, or “is this it?”. Very significant difference indeed. Gone is the sense of security and safety. Gone and replaced with impending dread. Every single day.
How is this affecting my research, besides the not being able to concentrate part?
First and foremost, the university is closed and has been closed ever since the 22 February. How long I cannot speculate, as my building, Te Pourewa in the Faculty of Education was hit badly. From what I understand the piping is totally gone, there are cracks through which we can see the sky, and the staircases have been separated from their base. This means no access to my room, my books, my documents, or anything in the building. I have been displaced, and will now have to find a good place to do my work. Home is a difficult option as I have small boys. Enough said.
Also, because of this delay, I may run into problems later with visa and extension of my studies.
Another pressing matter is that I am scheduled to go back to Malaysia for data collection in roughly a month’s time, and my inability to access my supervisors will also have an impact on my upcoming pilot study.
And to top it all off, I have pretty much lost my job, which equals to loss of income. What are the prospects of teaching in a language school that depends on the enrolments of foreign students after a major earthquake has shattered the city?... My thoughts exactly.
We’ll see how events unfold in the coming weeks.