Shaky Isles

Back working on my models again.  I thought I’d be almost finished by now, but last week I discovered I’d missed a couple of crucial steps from the process, so I pretty much had to start from scratch again (not quite, because a lot of the work I’d done before will be useful, but still feels like I’ve wasted a couple of weeks’ work 🙁 ).

Well, it’s been an … interesting… couple of weeks since I last posted.  First there was the American elections.  We were watching the results come in in our office (it was early afternoon here), and, like the rest of the world, couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing as the map turned redder and redder.*  The mood was pretty sombre by the end of the day (especially for Rosalee, who does a lot of environmental work outside her paid work, especially around climate change, and I think was feeling like it was all for naught).
And of course, if we’re feeling unhappy about the election here, I can’t imagine how my American friends are feeling (or rather, I can – I’ve seen such an outpouring of grief, and fear, and anger from various corners of the internet that I occasionally inhabit).
*The whole red=right wing, blue=left always throws me when I watch American elections.  Here (and in the UK, and most other places I know anything about the politics of), red = left, blue = right.  So I always get excited when I see a state go red, then have to remind myself that it’s all back to front, and red is actually bad news.

The next horrible and unexpected event was last Monday’s earthquake.  It didn’t feel that strong in Christchurch, but it was enough to wake me up, and it went on for ages (I think they said it was about 2 minutes, which is a VERY long time – the September 2010 earthquake was only about 50 seconds, and that one felt like forever).  Even though the shaking didn’t feel that violent, it was a big rolling motion that was enough to get all the doors in my house swinging open and closed, and it definitely got the adrenaline going – it took me a few hours to get back to sleep (the quake struck just after midnight).
Getting back to sleep wasn’t helped by spending the first hour or so obsessively checking Geonet and various news websites to find out what had happened.  My initial worry was that it had been centred in Wellington (I could tell from the length and strength of the shaking that it had been big but not close to Christchurch, so Wellington was the obvious conclusion).  Thankfully it wasn’t, or the death toll would have been many hundreds instead of 2, but the news still isn’t good – Kaikoura and several other small towns in North Canterbury and Marlborough have pretty much been destroyed, and the main transport route between North and South Islands is gone, which we’ll be feeling the effects of for many months.  And although it wasn’t centred on Wellington, the direction the earthquake travelled means they took quite a hit from it, and there’s been quite a bit of damage to their CBD.

In happier news, Christian (of Jenny and Christian) is in town for a conference, so is staying with me.  It’s been great catching up with him, although I wish Jenny had been able to come over too (actually, she is in New Zealand at the moment too, but at a different conference up in Hamilton).  It reminds me of how much I miss their friendship – I really must find the time (and the money) to go over to Brisbane and visit them sometime! Maybe once I’ve got this thesis out of the way…

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