Today, we have officially been in Christchurch for two weeks. For the last few days, we have been enjoying our first public holiday here, a long weekend in celebration of the signing of the Waitangi Treaty, entitling the Kiwi’s to independence from the British. We enjoyed a lazy Saturday and Sunday, with a couple of strolls around the Botanical Gardens and a game of Hide and Seek (there are many good places to hide in our new home since it is so BIG!). However, the weather took a turn for the better yesterday and since we were woken by the loud banging of a handyman replacing the rotten boards of the veranda roof, we decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine.
Our house mate, Andy, has a car and offered to be designated driver for the day in exchange for our knowledge of good places to visit. I suggested Sumner, a seaside destination 20 minutes drive away. As many houses are built on the hill and cliff side, there has understandably been a lot of damage to this area in the recent earthquakes. We had witnessed the huge shipping containers put in place to protect cars from rock fall on our last visit, but we were unprepared for the further damage wrought upon the hills by the quake before Christmas. Some houses had been ripped literally in two, with one half teetering on the cliff edge and the other reduced to a pile of rubble at the cliff foot.
I love Sumner and it hurt very much to see how the force of nature has decided to wreak such havoc there. Amongst the damage, the spirit of the place still remains and the three of us were captivated by the charms of the Esplanade, the crashing of the waves on the shore and the smell of the sea and flora. We stopped for a coffee in a gorgeous cafe in the midst of the town, and relaxed for a while on beanbags grouped around a little tree in the outside dining area. I could have sat there for hours, just taking the world in and enjoying the little moments life allows us if we find the time to appreciate them.
I had begun to forget why we had uprooted ourselves from our comfortable life and moved ourselves to the other side of the world, away from all our loved ones and the support they offer. Yesterday reminded me why. There are so many things to enjoy and be part of, all on your doorstep in New Zealand. You just step outside your front door, and the day is yours for the taking. I am living a life that I never knew I could have, but has been within my reach all this time. I just wish I could share it with everyone. Somehow, I get much more satisfaction and enjoyment out of a thing if I feel I am sharing the experience with someone else. I want to show everyone what my new home has to offer. Patience. My new favourite word.