READER REPORT:

Move or stay? I'm on the fence

R BLACK
Last updated 11:09 20/02/2013

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I was at work when the February 22 earthquakes struck. I had no idea how bad the quake was until I received a call from my father less than five minutes after it happened.

"The cathedral's down," he told me.

My heart sank, and suddenly this earthquake seemed a much bigger deal than the last.

"I thought I was going to die," my husband texted me (when it finally got through). He was in the mall at the time, and huddled around other customers to protect each other.

However, all of these experiences seem like a distant memory now. I am still here two years later. Why?

1. I live in an unaffected area of Christchurch. I was very lucky to live in an area where there was no liquifaction, no major structural damage, no cracked roads.

2. My husband and I have job security. We both love our jobs and these haven't changed since the earthquakes.

3. I rent. Need I say more? EQC, I'm talking to you ...

Many people have left Christchurch. Homes destroyed, families under stress, relatives lost. I know that I got off relatively lightly. There are so many people who have awful, heart-wrenching stories - but they are not just stories, they are their everyday lives.

The earthquake is really something you can't understand until you come to Canterbury and see the impact for yourself. Recently I had a friend come and visit. She burst into tears when she walked through the centre of town.

"I had no idea," she said, "it doesn't look the same on TV."

So, reasons I could easily up and leave?

1. No inner-city infrastructure.

2. Psychological effects: I still can't watch footage of the earthquake without sobbing. This probably won't change anytime soon. I jump if something remotely shakes. Recently, I found a CV on my husband's laptop - he had applied for a job at CTV in 2009, but they gave the job to someone else.

3. As a 20-something university graduate, most of my classmates have had to find work in other major cities or overseas. I wonder how long my "job security" will last in actuality.

Final verdict? I'm on the fence.


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