READER REPORT:

June 2011 quake was final straw

CORINNE MCKENNA
Last updated 09:35 20/02/2013

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After the June 13, 2011 quake my husband and I finally made the decision to leave Christchurch for the UK (where my husband is from). We put our house on the market that week.

We had been debating whether to stay or go since September 2010 when we found out I was pregnant with our first child two days after the big one. We almost made the move in February but when things calmed down we decided to put it off again. Our son was born in May 2011 and we decided to stay put for the time being as we both wanted to settle down to our new family life. The came another magnitude six in June and we made our decision to go. We left in September 2011 with our 4-month-old baby, our dog and four suitcases to start a new life.

We were very fortunate that we could leave. Our house sustained only minimal damage, EQC had paid for the repairs and it sold quickly. I have a British passport and we had a lot of family support in the UK. This was one of the reasons we felt we had to go, if we had stayed and something had happened to one of us or our baby we would have kicked ourselves for not leaving when we could.

Once we landed things fell into place very quickly, my husband obtained a good position in London and we bought a house in a lovely market town in Bedfordshire. We have both made friends, had another baby and are slowly but surely building a new life here.

We are here for good, it is so much work to start over again I would not want to repeat the exercise, especially at my age. The children deserve stability as well and they will be English boys through and through.

I do love it here, the countryside is beautiful, the TV fantastic, the people are extremely kind and courteous and there is so much to see and do right on our doorstep. Thankfully Skype and Facebook make the world a much smaller place now so I do not feel I am so far removed from my family and friends' lives.

During the first six months here my husband and I both had to deal with what we had been though. I lay in bed many nights having to remind myself that I was safe here and there would be no violent shaking waking us up in the middle of the night.

Do I get homesick? Absolutely! Although it is getting less and less, I wonder if I will ever feel truly "at home" here. People keep telling me it just takes time.

I still open Stuff every morning before the UK papers. However, I have to remind myself that the Christchurch that I miss no longer exists, except in my memory, and I treasure that memory because there were so many things I loved and miss about that wonderful city.


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