Thursday, April 21, Liz and I took the early bus to Christchurch to see some of our friends back in Ilam before we were traveling to the North Island for break. When arriving in Christchurch, we were completely lost in the city since the bus could not drop us off at the normal stop due to earthquake reconstruction. We walked down the street to Hagley Park and from there caught the free shuttle to the opposite side of the park. The other side was full of people and had and old bus being used as the makeshift bus exchange since it was destroyed during the earthquake. From here, we were able to catch a bus to Ilam and then ran to Sophie’s flat! We were greeted by Sophie, Aleesha, and Shelley and K149 was finally all together again. Sophie was not feeling too well so she went to take a nap while Aleesha, Liz and I went to coffee culture to talk about life after the earthquake. We ended up chatting for about two hours until it was time for Aleesha to get back to Ilam and get ready to leave for her flight. Together, we walked Aleesha to the bus stop and waited until the Christchurch airport bus arrived. This was one of the saddest goodbyes because we are unsure if we will ever see Aleesha again. K149 made a pact that in three years, Aleesha and Sophie will travel to the US and we will all spend a couple of days in New York City together (since that is where they are most excited to go). 2014 will be great! Anyway, after we said goodbye to Aleesha we all hung around and continued talking about our new lives at our new schools. One of our old friends was having a small party with just Ilam people so when Dan joined us, we all went over to his apartment until around midnight. At midnight, Shelley, Adam, Dan and I returned to Sophie’s flat and were talking in the common room until we were joined by Peter, Mike and Tim. We were all still excited to be together and kept talking until Sophie’s flatmate got very angry and caused somewhat of a scene. I understand her being mad at us for being loud, but if she had just said something instead of slamming doors/ shutting off the lights while we were talking, and calling Sophie, we may have responded differently and understood. Let’s just say it was a VERY long night.
The next day, Liz, Peter, Mike, Tim and I wanted to go see the destruction that had been done by the earthquake in the epicenter and how it was being handled. We walked around town for a while and spent some time basking in the sun in the Botanical Gardens. After playing on the elephant tree for a while, we decided we needed a new destination. The crew walked back to the Temporary Bus Exchange and waited for a bus to New Brighton Beach since three of us had never had to chance to see it. The bus ride was about a half hour and we grabbed an early dinner when we got to the beach. Nobody was swimming because it was a little too cold but it was nice to walk around and just see the beach. I think it would’ve been really fun to have gone there on a regular basis - people were throwing a frisbee, playing in the sand and flying kites. The bus ride back to Riccarton Mall was a lot more relaxed. We walked back to Ilam and moved back into our semi-abandoned K149 flat for the night. There was one girl living there but she said she understood our situation and had no problem letting us spend the night! It was really understanding of her and we were all grateful. We showered and spent the night watching Family Guy and Forrest Gump all huddled together. It was one of those days where anything went and we were just constantly laughing. I wish we had stayed in Canterbury just for more days like these. It’s funny to say that because we all attend the University of Otago together. It is simply that the setup of Otago does not facilitate our group because we are all placed in different directions among the campus. Ilam was easier for gatherings because everyone you needed was within a two minute walk. In addition, to be completely honest, I think the individuals in Christchurch were more friendly because we were all looking to meet new people whereas the people attending Otago already have their own groups of friends. It’s interesting how a change of scenery can change the way people act.