We got home safely, taking a necessary detour up through the centre of the South Island, rather than along the beautiful coast road that has been destroyed in the earthquake, where the seabed has been lifted by two metres, and where lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. I felt guilty that I enjoyed the drive so much, over a mountain pass that I have only travelled once (I think) before and I had forgotten how beautiful it was, through lush green farmland, rocky hills, and dense native forest, with some obvious earthquake damage to roads and bridges on the way, though thankfully still navigable.
Getting home too was no problem, finding only that a few magazines had slid off a wonky pile, a book fell off my desk, and a pot had wobbled over. I am very thankful, as I didn't know how our house on stilts would fare in such a prolonged shake, and I know how lucky we have been so far, living only a few kilometres away from the city where buildings are being demolished as a result of earthquake damage.
Finally, a note to say that travelling in New Zealand in November was blissful for the No Kidding amongst us, as we encountered very few families with children (school isn't out yet, either for Kiwis or our tourists until December). We were able to relax and enjoy our trip, without reminders of our own situation or that of others, and without worrying about what others might be thinking of us.
The only time I was reminded that I didn't have children was an hour or so out of Wellington, on the deck of the ferry going through the Marlborough Sounds, when we got chatting to an American man who explained that he and his wife bring all their nieces and nephews to New Zealand as a college graduation present. They have visited here about five times (and the day before the election said that they were seriously considering moving here), and yes, you guessed it, they do this for their nieces and nephews because they don't have any children.