World shaking events.
We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, Croydon House located only two and a half blocks (or so) from the site of the conference, there in City Centre. Close to the Arts Centre, easily within walking distance of Cathedral Square. We spent a week in Chch for the conference, plus a few days, before renting a car and doing our driving tour of South Island. When we left, we booked a room at Croydon House again for when we returned, as our flight home left from Christchurch International.
After two and a half weeks driving, seeing places new to us, doing things, becoming sensory overloaded with the place, returning to Croydon House felt like coming home. Calm, relaxed, relatively quiet, familiar. Home.
The quake last September, the aftershocks, all touched me. Even if I can't say I've friends there, I know people. Nita's family at Croydon. Linley and Mark, who drove us about on our first day there before conference, including over to Littleton (the epicenter of yesterday's quake) simply because I knew Linley's sister, a perioperative RN. Liz, Sarah at Dux DeLux. Frank at Victoria Square Photos (he processed our early film during conference commenting he recognised a photographer at work compared to the rest of the photos he'd been processing), and all the B&W I shot during the trip), and the folk at Ken's Camera & Video where got got all our colour film processed after the driving tour. And more, people whose names I don't recall yet know I met while at conference, at Christchurch Hospital when we toured the surgical theatre as part of conference.
I can't say they're friends. We don't correspond, there's been little or no contact since we came home 10 years ago. They are people we know who live there, who are affected by this. Now there are others I know only through LJ here that also live there. The last quake was hard. This one is worse.
May they all be well, and safe.