Greetings from Christchurch, New Zealand!
We arrived in the land of the long white cloud just six days ago and already our time has been filled with friendship, family, fun gatherings and an abundance of beautiful scenery. Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand yet has only about 400,000 residents. Wellington is on the bottom of the North Island and the capital city. Christchurch is on the East coast of the South Island and is commonly called "the garden city" and is truly beautiful in the Spring time. However, July is the middle of winter here - although so far it has been unusually mild. As you may know, Christchurch experienced a large 7.1 earthquake in September 2010, a huge 6.3 aftershock in February and another 6.3 in June. Altogether there have been nearly 13,000 earthquakes, although many are too small to feel. Yesterday was reportedly the first day since September that did not have a noticeable earthquake (which we're quite happy about). So far I have only felt one aftershock and it felt like a short, sudden shake, but it was 'only' a 3.8. Friends took us on a tour of downtown Christchurch to see the devastation firsthand, and it was very sad to see the crumbled buildings and landmarks, although many sites have already been cleared.
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Thank you and have a lovely day!