Vicki Anderson: Can we fix it?

02:15, Jun 28 2011
Civic Square
People begin to gather in Civic Square to mark two minutes silence.
People gather to observe two minutes' silence in commemoration of the victims of Christchurch's earthquake at Wellington's Civic Square.
People observe two minutes' silence in commemoration of the victims of Christchurch's earthquake at Wellington's Civic Square.
Prime Minister John Key, Opposition leader Phil Goff and Christchurch mayor Bob Parker observe two minutes' silence in Christchurch.
Prime Minister John Key, Opposition leader Phil Goff and Christchurch mayor Bob Parker observe two minutes' silence in Christchurch.
Two minutes of silence is marked in Palmerston North at 12.51pm today.
Two minutes' silence - Palmerston North
Remembering the quake
People stand outside the Christchurch Art Gallery at 12.51pm.
Remembering the quake
People stand outside the Christchurch Art Gallery at 12.51pm.
Remembering the quake
People stand outside the Christchurch Art Gallery at 12.51pm.
Remembering the quake
People stand outside the Christchurch Art Gallery at 12.51pm.
Remembering the quake
Hundreds of people gathered outside Palmerston North's All Saints Church to observe the two minutes' silence.
Remembering the quake
Hundreds of people gathered outside Palmerston North's All Saints Church to observe the two minutes' silence.
Remembering the quake
People stand outside the Christchurch Art Gallery at 12.51pm.
Invercargill's First Church
Two minutes silence is observed in Invercargill's First Church at 12.51pm.
Dunedin
Thousands converge on the Octagon in Dunedin to remember the Christchurch earthquake.
Remembering the earthquake
People gather at Port Loop ground.
New Plymouth
People gather in New Plymouth to mark the two minutes of silence.
Prime minister John Key
Prime minister John Key observes 2 minutes silence at 12.51pm, one week after the quake struck Christchurch.
Prime minister John Key
Prime minister John Key observes 2 minutes silence at 12.51pm, one week after the quake struck Christchurch.
Remembering the quake
Members of the public embrace at the ceremony held in Christchurch where they observed two minutes silence to remember those that lost their lives.
Remembering the earthquake
People gather at Port Loop ground.
People in Rotorua
Heads bent in sorrow, Rotorua joins the rest of the country iunited in grief.
Remembering the earthquake
People gather at Port Loop ground.
Prime Minister John Key
Prime Minister John Key talks to members of the public following the ceremony held in Christchurch.

The two minute silence to remember those we have lost hit me pretty hard yesterday.

You can't tell toddlers to be quiet for two minutes, they just don't understand.

I sat on a stranger's couch across from someone I barely know that I've been house sharing with. I wanted to sob like a baby but felt strangely awkward.

The best thing about your own home is that you can hide away from the world. If I'd been in my own house yesterday at 12.51 I would have thrown myself on my bed and cried until I felt better.

Instead, I sat in a stranger's living room. As the two minute silence began Finn, 3, and Hollie, 2, started loudly brawling over a toy.

"Muuuuum," they screamed. I tried to silently break up the fight while flashbacks of Christchurch's CBD last week flashed into my brain.

Tears ran down my face.

"Mummy," they yelled, looking at me with puzzled expressions.

I didn't want to cry in front of the Dutch nurse also living here so buried my face in Hollie's t-shirt and hid my tears.

The owners of the house we are in come back on Sunday as their daughter's school starts back then, so we have just a few days to find somewhere to live. I've put an ad on TradeMe so fingers crossed something comes up.

The kids will hate leaving this house. It's three times the size of ours, has every toy you can imagine, and it even has a hammock. I am surprised at how resentful of this family I am.

It is awful of me to admit this after they have been so kind, but I am jealous of them. An enormous house, a holiday house in Hanmer to bolt to, their lives unaffected.

Lily, 11, and I talked about this on our way to get fish and chips as a treat for tea last night.

She was wearing her only pair of shoes, jandals a size to small which came free with a magazine in a service station. She took them off and pouted.

"It's just not fair. Some people have so much already, we already didn't have much and now we've got nothing," Lily said.

I tried to tell her that this experience will enrich and inform her existence and shape the priorities she chooses for the rest of her life.

Truth is, though, I am scared too and I know she knows it.

In the fish and chip shop is a woman with an adorable baby. I ooh and aah. Sarah puts her hand out. We shake hands. We talk instantly of our deepest fears.The earthquake has seen the end of inconsequential chatter.

I am staying in Burnside and so is she. I had been living in Brighton and so was she. Our only difference is that she is leaving for Taupo the next day.

"I can't stay here any more, I can't do it all again," she said.

But I can't leave, I couldn't afford to even if I wanted to.

Yesterday I accepted a friend request on Facebook from someone called Robert Parker. This may or may not be our mayor.

I am staying because the Christchurch music family, full of people I love and adore, is caring for me more than my own family.

Anika Moa: "Let me know if you and the family want to go and stay at my mum's place."

Anika is auctioning a one-off painting of herself on Trade Me to raise money.

Dave Dobbyn came to Christchurch and played for homeless people in the welfare centre. I wanted to interview him about it but he didn't want anyone to know he'd done it.

Christchurch musicians and extended community got together yesterday in St Albans park to do what they do best - play music and give great hugs.

Someone talked of wanting to do a remix of We Built This City (on rock 'n roll).

Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd calls me on the phone. His mum lives in Hampshire Street. He's organizing downloads of rare Flying Nun material as a fundraiser.

"Bit rough mate," he says with typical Roger understatedness.

Miriama McDonald and I had a lunch date for Tuesday, February 22 at 1pm.  I talked to her for the first time yesterday. Her inner city home, a block from the Pyne Gould building, is lying on the street.

She had to leave St Albans park early because of the curfew. It's like being a teen again she reckons.

Her job is gone, yet she is grateful we made our lunch date - if we hadn't she would have been in her crumpled office block.

She even joked "I got a video out from Alice's on Tuesday, it was an overnighter, do you think they'll charge me late fees?"

Right now I'm waiting for The Eastern van to arrive to take me out to the Press' temporary office.

They're playing a free show to cheer folks up. I haven't seen my workmates since that day.

What were my children fighting over during the two minutes of silence?

It was a Bob the Builder book.

As the silence ended, Finn looked at me and asked: "Can we fix it?"

My reply through suppressed tears was barely audible: "Yes we can."

Advertisement

The Press