I write from a camping ground in Mt Cook National Park where, for the first time in my life, I have successfully put up a tent all by myself and am planning to spend two whole nights in a row sleeping outdoors, by myself.
The weather is surprisingly warm and I am looking forward to a few days of walking, kayaking, exploring, adventuring, relaxing...
I came from a jampacked family Christmas in Dunedin - four days, three of which were spent at the beach, all of which almost seemed clichéd in their perfection, spent with my entire family which now numbers 25 including my parent, my siblings and their spouses, my nieces and nephews, and me.
More on this later. I plan to fill you in on all the details of my summer holiday, along with copious photos.
The day I left Christchurch (December 23) there were more earthquakes - a 5.8 followed by a 5.3 and a 6.0. I was in a little old secondhand book shop when the first one hit, kneeling at the bottom of a tall bookcase. The whole store wobbled around me and I could feel the earth rocking and all around me books were falling down and narrowly missing me. It wasn't pleasant, and was probably the least safe I have ever felt during any of the earthquakes. I was supposed to be leaving the next day but I ended up going home, packing my things in about half an hour, and driving to Dunedin.
I think I'm a little shell-shocked by it because for the last few days I have constantly, inexplicably, felt like bursting into tears at odd moments, even though I've been having a great time. It's not rational at all and I don't understand it so I'm putting it down to shock, and to frustration that just as everything seemed to be improving the quakes have hit us again.