Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand, but you wouldn’t know it at the moment. Five years ago, 75% of this beautiful city was destroyed in an earthquake. Taking with it, 185 lives. It’s quite a somber realization to walk through the once busy downtown and see boarded up shops, broken windows and piles of ruble. This city was once full of life. People on their way to work each morning, taking their lunch break, shopping and enjoying life.
While the city is slowly rebuilding itself, a shell of what was surrounds what it will one day become.
Re:Start, a mall made up of shipping containers and food trucks in the center of the city, hosts a bright idea of what Christchurch will one day become.
Beside it though, a cathedral surrounded by scaffolding, bricks strewn about and a memorial underway.
We stumbled upon this temporary installation and were moved beyond words. (It was the first time I’ve seen Andy speechless!) The 185 empty chairs were SO powerful. So moving. It brought tears to our eyes, and silence to the rambling, pointless thoughts that we were thinking before.
‘Sit in a chair that speaks to you’
Next to the installation was a bit of writing explaining the piece and a notebook to leave a journal entry. There were entries from across the world, all with hopes for the future and sadness for lives lost.
This quote stuck out to us, and left us with that bulge in the back of our throats..
‘You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp” | Anne Lamott |
Christchurch is a beautiful city, so different than any we have ever been to. With all of our traveling we typically find ourselves in different cities that really aren’t so different. Christchurch proved to be that different city. It’s eerie silence was somewhat comforting, and it’s empty streets asked to be walked, explored and remade.
Oh, and the coffee. Is amazing.
We are in Christchurch for the World Buskers Festival, starting on January 14th, with Spandy performances and appearances daily. Come say hi to us at Hagley Park in the center of Christchurch, we’d love to see you!
To check showtimes and learn more about Buskers Fest check out their website: http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com