7 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

Memorials at the CTV site, where 115 people died in the building’s collapse on 22 February 2011. Credit: Joseph Johnson/Stuff

Today is an anniversary date in my life that I could live without.

Actually, it’s so bad that the other day Noel asked me, “Isn’t the anniversary of Grandpa’s passing about this time of year,” the day after that anniversary, and I felt guilty about forgetting that. (My Grandpa passed away on 19 February 2004.)

Last year, I spoke about feeling stuck, like 22 February 2011 is a fixed-point in my timeline, and, like a black hole, the rest of my life slowly spins around it, stuck in its gravity.
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6 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

Oi Manawa, the official New Zealand national memorial to the 185 victims of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, shown at dawn on the 6th anniversary of the quake.
Oi Manawa, the official New Zealand national memorial to the 185 victims of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, shown at dawn on the 6th anniversary of the quake. GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

I felt somewhat guilty that I seemingly pushed the sixth anniversary of the 22 February 2011 quake to the back of my mind.  As I mentioned in my last post, I seem to be living day-to-day lately (being “present”), and this has caused problems like, well, everything seemingly sneaking up on me.  I need to work on a better balance in that regard, the pendulum swinging a little too far the opposite way.

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Positive Educational Experiences Can Empower People

We Can Do It!

So, today was one of those really busy days at work.  End of term, which always causes a bit of a kerfluffle around the place, was a little more end-of-term-ish for me as I’m taking a break like everyone else over the school holidays instead of working through like I usually do.  I honestly am burnt out and tired and making lots of mistakes, and since my colleague Lyssa is away overseas for personal reasons, I’ll be dealing with new students the last week in July all by myself administration-wise, so I need to be fresh of mind and spirit for that.

Anyway, I had a surprise visit from a graduate of ours today.  She popped in to get a few things, and it was great to see her looking so happy.

After Jacqui left the school, I took over the interviewing for a while, and this student (let’s call her Rikki) came in for an interview after we received her application.  She was quiet, slightly withdrawn, and wholly unconfident.  Her educational experiences had been, to put it nicely, horrible, and her performance obviously suffered as a result.  I had a feeling, reading between the lines, that she’d probably been called “stupid” or “dumb”, when, in actuality, she was anything but that.

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Our Words and Actions Have Consequences

Today, at Careers Expo, I saw a high school student who appeared to be isolated from other students, anxious, and spending the Expo alone. The student started watching our students applying makeup at the far edge of our stand away from them.

I’ve been that kid and I’ve also not had the courage to help kids like that when I was that age due to the threat of being isolated when things seemed to be coming right for me in high school.

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Fallout

Well, geez, guys, thanks for all the positive feedback on social media about my last post.  It was from the heart, all these emotions (and nostalgia) welling within me, and I’ve been waiting so long for the creative dam in my mind to burst.  All your positive feedback helps tear that dam down.  Thank you.

So I alluded to “shit” that’s been going down in my life, and it’s going to take more than one blog to get that all out.  Where to start, though?  What to write about?

Bullying.

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My First Colonoscopy

Okay, this probably isn’t the best subject to approach on my first blog back for a while, but my Mom said I should write the experience down so I can remember it the next time I get anxious about having a colonoscopy…

My family has a strong incidence of colon cancer.  My Oma died in 1987, only a year or so into her retirement, from colon cancer.  She’d been showing the signs but wasn’t willing to see a doctor about it until it was too late, and she was given a month to live.  I remember the day we found out very vividly.  My brother Brian and I came home from school to find my Dad on the phone in the kitchen, and when he turned around to look at us, his eyes were pink and he was upset.  I think Brian and I got upset because he was upset, and I’m pretty sure we had a family meeting in the back porch of their house where they explained the bad news.

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