In Katie’s Words…
>I lay in bed this morning with something bothering me…and it hit me, I haven’t expressed Katie’s thoughts. When she finally got back home to us yesterday afternoon she had explained to me how she found out about it, how frustrated she was without news and contact, and the ability to get home, and I felt a chill down my spine…so, this blog is dedicated to those who were so close yet so far.
I arrived in Wellington for an induction course on Tuesday morning. I don’t know why, but I had an uneasy feeling about being away from home this time. This is probably because it was the first time that I had been away from the family since September 4th. I was there for a two-day course right in town. We started the day as any would with introductions and silly ‘getting to know each other’ games.
By the time lunch time came around at 12.30, I was tired, having been up since 5am. I was hungry having not eaten, and I was looking forward to getting back to my hotel and chilling out with a wine and Coronation St.
I dropped my bag at the hotel then went in search for food. I found a cafe, ordered a stuffed potato and sat down. As the food came, I got a text from and old friend I hadn’t heard from in years – ‘r u ok?’. Strange I thought….then another, a voicemail from a friend in Auckland saying they had heard and were thinking and praying for us….alarm bells started ringing. I had had messages like this before….on September 4th….I grabbed the phone, hand shaking to call my husband. Straight to voicemail. Then I called my Dad. Same thing. I was looking around the cafe. Things were just the same; people chatting like nothing had happened. I left a tearful message on my husband’s phone. A text message came through from Deanna’s school to say that all of the children were quite shaken but ok, and to pick them up now. Oh God I thought. I called through to Mum and Dad at home again and got through. Mum had been on the road and hadn’t even felt the quake. It was not until she got home to a pale Dad and Emma that she found out! She jumped straight back in the car to get Deanna. Renée, who is 22 months slept soundly through the whole ordeal bless her.
The kids were ok, I needed to find out about Keith. Finally after the longest time (that was actually about 10 minutes) he called. I cried. People were looking. He was ok, and that was about all I could fathom at that point. The lines went dead again.
At that point I decided to pull myself together and work on getting back to them.
I ate my lunch. I don’t know what it is with me, but no matter what the situation, I can still always eat! I was thinking that I was going to have a long day and needed the energy.
I started to text friends on my way back to work while trying to get info about what was happening from friends in other places.
As soon as I got back to the building, Deanna called. She was really crying and was obviously distressed at the whole situation. Much more than the first quake. All the kids at school were crying. Poor thing.
We were led to a room and told to get on the pcs and phones and do whatever we wanted to get in contact with those we needed to.
they tried desperately to get us back to Christchurch. The airport was shut, so we just had to sit and wait. I went back to my hotel room and sat glued to the tv until 11. It was a hard night. By this time though most of my friends and family had been accounted for and I was very thankful. Mum had checked my house, which was fine along with our animals.
The next morning I was up at 5.30 to watch tv again. I arrived at the airport at 7.45. I wasn’t scheduled to fly til 5pm. I stood in a line a mile long to see if I could get on any earlier. The airport was pretty chaotic. After an hour I was almost at the Air NZ service desk. A call from ANZ had come through telling me that they had pulled strings and I was on a flight at 10.30. I couldn’t believe it.
I stayed in the queue just to make sure. No way was I going to the back of the queue! It was now longer than ever.
Sure enough I was checked in and just had to wait half and hour longer. Thank goodness!
There were a lot of media there waiting to for passengers to get off the first flight from chch. Yuck. It cemented once again the reason why I never stayed in media.
Finally I was on the plane. Air NZ staff were brilliant. They kept us informed the whole way and were really lovely. Everyone was talking about the quake, their families, their homes, and it was a very somber mood.
When I got off and got in to the airport I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were people EVERYWHERE. People looking battered and tired. People desperate to get out.
I slinked my way to baggage without standing on people. I got in the car. Everything looked normal. There was a strange eeriness though like nothing was ok.
The first sign of trouble was the queue of traffic heading in the opposite direction. ie out of town.
The petrol station was swamped with cars.
There was silt all over the place.
I got to the lights and looked beside me. A Dad, Mum, kids, cat and clothes were piled in the car beside me. They were all crying.
I finally got home. My pups and little family were waiting for me. It was the best sight I had seen. Thank God we are all ok. We are healthy, happy, we have a home in tact and our friends are ok.