Not better or worse, just different
February 22: Our new city
About three days after the February 22 quake, I realised that almost every road in the city was going to need to be repaired and that was going to take forever.
I also knew that there were other things that I hadn't thought of that would also need to be repaired and again, that was going to take years instead of months.
In addition to that, I had rather quickly, developed a slightly over-active flight or fight adrenaline response and had, as a result, become a bundle of nerves. It was about three weeks after the February quakes that we decided to leave and head for Brisbane.
It took until July for us to find jobs and work out the logistics of it, but we arrived here in early July and haven't really looked back.
We flew into Christchurch late one night just before Christmas and I'll admit I had a tear in my eye as we did, but after spending four days there, I remembered why I had left and how I couldn't bear to be back there.
I moved to Christchurch in 2003 and fell in love with the city immediately. I raised my two boys there, fell in love there and built a reputation in my chosen field for myself there. It's where I found me, if you like.
But on February 22, 2011, all of that changed and the city I loved, died. I went through a significant grieving process for months after I left, and I even went as far as to see a counsellor about my panic attacks that endured for months after we left.
I miss my city, I miss what it used to be. I miss walking through the city on a summer's day watching buskers in the square. I miss Christmas in the Park and Classical Sparks.
I miss the people and I miss what the city meant for me, but it's gone now. It can never be that for me again and it's time for me to move on. Sure, the weather here is better, the wages are much more attractive and housing is more affordable. The people here are lovely - despite what most Kiwis will tell you about our cousins across the ditch - and there's much more opportunity here.
Things are not better or worse, they're just different now. As Gary McCormick said, "damn you, you bastard". The earthquake changed everything. I hate it for that, but I'm also grateful to it for opening new doors.
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