15 April 2013

Christchurch Undid Me

I confess, I've never been to Christchurch. You can call me a typical Jaffa and mock me for my Aucklandness, but in spite of the fact that I now feel the need to belong to AA (Aucklanders Anonymous) 
I love Christchurch. 
(Even more so now I've actually been there.)

[Christchurch has good coffee and great cafes - but no NZ Herald as Gail found out... Photo by Widge]

I'm going to pretend assume that you are new round here and haven't already read 1000 posts on the topic of this weekend's first-ever bloggy "conference" in the Shaky City... I want to introduce you to Christchurch through my eyes.

More than two years after the Earthquake that devastated New Zealand's third largest city, there's still plenty that's broken...

So much heritage has been lost, but sometimes there are surprising finds when a building comes down...

[old sign revealed when the building next door was demolished]
 Quake City it may be, but I was moved and inspired by the way Christchurch has embraced colour and brought life back into the city with murals, flowers and creative shopping options...

Carparking is not a problem in Christchurch (and for us Aucklanders, it's so CHEAP!) That's because everywhere that there used to be a building, there is now a car park. So many car parks...

Those of us who missed the official Tour because of early Sunday flights were given a guided tour by the lovely Tall Pipi. Cameras abounded...

Our usually chatty bunch fell silent as we moved through the city; overwhelmed with what we saw, even two years on.

Christchurch, you moved me. You got to me.

Of course it wasn't all devastation and earthquake damage. Most of the weekend was about connecting. "Bloggers Connecting" in particular.

The Christchurch girls did an AMAZING job of putting it all together. What a warm hearted generous welcoming bunch.

[Those macarons at Columbo Mall will take a lot of beating. Droooool...]

I loved every minute - the great cafes, the shopping, the company. I even survived the Panel and Workshop, in spite of excruciating nerves. I was having a blast...

...until the moment I stood in this queue waiting for breakfast at the super-awesome C1 Espresso cafe. The crowd, the new faces, the emotions all conspired to do me in and suddenly the tears were falling and I had to flee the scene.

"Complex PTSD" (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is what I've recently been re-diagnosed with. Turns out, the depression and anxiety I've battled for the past 12 years are mere symptoms of a bigger issue. Stress of any kind can trigger me and without warning my body will betray me in some way... this time it betrayed me with tears. I wasn't sad or upset, I was merely overwhelmed. Emotions leaking out my eyes. (Christchurch, you undid me.)

But in those moments of sitting outside alone, unable to stop the tears, a bloggy friend came upon me, "Nurse Jackie". She shielded me, and sat with me, told me to take deep breaths. Soon some other friends joined her... brought me coffee... I wasn't alone. I was freaking out but I was still accepted, loved and cared for.

[Love these girls and so many more... Photo by JackstaB]

The friendships I have found though blogging are some of the most special I've ever had. The support and love that gets shared around is UN.BE.LIEVABLE at times. So much kindness.

This is why I love blogging.
My wonderful, special, beloved blog-friends.
Thank you, one and all.

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