Last updated 14:33 20/04/2011
On the night of February 22, like many people in Christchurch, I couldn't sleep.
I stayed up all night and wrote this. In this story I asked for New Zealand to ''have our backs''.
Reading it now I realise I used that phrase several times.
It wasn't a conscious decision to use those particular words. I was sitting in the dark, writing on my phone, feeling scared and alone. I wrote to try to make some kind of sense of the devastation I had seen and the hopelessness I felt and to connect in some way with someone, somewhere.
Now, nearly two months later, I find myself doing the same thing. It doesn't feel like two months have passed at all. I don't remember a single thing about March.
I also haven't remembered my manners: New Zealanders, thank you for having our backs.
The kindnesses I have seen and the stories I have heard of the kindness of strangers, and my own experiences of people's ability to be kind, fill me with utter joy and restore my faith in humanity. I know I am not alone.
A colleague took off up north for a break. She said she couldn't believe it when she was in a tiny rural town and she saw an old man standing outside a dairy collecting for Christchurch.
She didn't cry when she was nearly killed in City Mall or when she saw others die there. It was when she saw an elderly man in threadbare clothes standing outside a dairy holding a bucket doing his bit for Christchurch that she cried until she couldn't stop.
''You hear people talking about what they're doing but it's not until you see it for yourself that you realise how much they're giving, it's incredible,'' she said.
Another friend fled with her children to Nelson.
Outside The Warehouse a stranger stopped her and chatted. She said she was from Christchurch. She went in and purchased essential items for her children and herself - warm clothes, toiletries and so on.
The man, she said, hung around her and she was a bit worried that he was a bit odd.
She took the items up to the till, putting back a blanket she couldn't afford. Her youngest boy wanted a toy fire engine and she had to say ''no'' to him for the same reason.
At the till the man leaned over and said he would pay for her items. He then placed the blanket and fire engine onto her pile of essentials. She burst into tears.
Staff at The Warehouse gave her a hug and brought her a cup of tea while the manager told her children to each go and pick some toys and books to take with them. They also gave her petrol vouchers.
I don't blame her for crying. I cried when she told me this story.
''I'd been holding it together for a week but it's the kindess of strangers that gets you the most,'' she said.
For myself, standing in my new home and hearing my new landlord say in broken English: ''You are not tenant, we in earthquake together, you are sister,'' made me cry.
I stood in the lounge with my new sister and a workmate and we all hugged and cried together.
From the children who have made cards and Kiwis who struggle to make ends meet who have donated a whole day's pay to the relief fund, to people who opened their hearts and their homes to offer Cantabrians somewhere to bolt to, Kiwis around the world have done what they can to help and the people of Christchurch truly appreciate it.
And the fundraisers and bucket rattlers! I started to write a story about it and quickly realised I could fill an entire newspaper just with a list of events held in New Zealand alone, let alone around the world.
It is truly humbling.
What you are doing is helping our city on many levels from practical assistance through your financial donations, through to your thoughtful gestures and kind words. Everything helps immensely, no matter how small you think it might be.
New Zealanders are really something else. Cut through the crap and we really do all give a damn about each other. We might be a small country but we're big where it counts.
I can't think of anywhere else in the world where people would do what New Zealanders have done for Cantabrians.
Following Japan's horrific double whammy of a huge earthquake and tsunami, a world-renowned newspaper contacted me asking me to write about ''earthquake envy''.
Surely, they said, Christchurch must be upset that the world's attention had been taken from their plight and was now focussed on Japan?
I don't think they fully believed my answer - that the people of Christchurch felt nothing but empathy and sympathy for the people in Japan and would like to help in any way we could.
That very morning, walking my daughter to school, I saw a little girl of about seven or eight, standing outside the gate of her Christchurch school, selling muffins she had made herself, to raise money for the people of Japan.
Someone from outside of Christchurch said something curious to me this week. He described the rest of New Zealand as having ''earthquake fatigue''.
''We're all a bit over it,'' he said.
Another woman, also from outside of Christchurch, said: ''We bought a Dominion Post and that had normal news and then we bought a copy of The Press and there were eight pages about the earthquake. Don't you realise the rest of the country has moved on?''
While to some these comments might seem harsh, some might say they're understandable.
Haven't we all been in this situation? Particularly those who work in the media. You hear a story on the news and it's horrifying but after the initial trauma has passed, in time, news coverage moves on to covering another disaster somewhere else or the next Hollywood scandal.
It's strange to be on the other end of this situation. To actually be in the place that everyone else has moved on from.
Christchurch is suffering from a different kind of ''earthquake fatigue''.
We're just sick and tired of bloody earthquakes and their confidence-destroying buddies, aftershocks.
People here are exhausted and stressed and simply trying to function is a full-time job for many. Running on adrenalin for two months is not healthy for anyone, couple that with a feeling of despair as to whether there's any coherent plan or future for the city you live in and the result is tension.
Lately I find myself just sitting and staring into space. I catch myself doing it a lot. I'm sitting still but my mind is racing. I'm always aware of my surroundings. Will this fear ever leave me?
Two months on from February 22, I'm still sleeping in my clothes with the emergency bag and my shoes handy. In my handbag I have two emergency blankets I bought from Kathmandu and a first aid kit just in case I need to help someone, sometime. I don't want to be helpless if the situation arises again.
My younger children are sleeping in their own beds again but my eldest daughter, 11, prefers to be as close as possible to me. She won't sleep without her bedroom light, the kitchen light and toilet light on. She wakes me up when she goes to the toilet in the middle of the night. ''I don't want to be alone in case something happens,'' she says.
When she has a shower she likes me to be outside the door talking to her ''in case something happens''.
When she leaves for her new school every morning she professes her love for me like a soldier going off to war.
''It might be the very last time I see you,'' she says.
I'm following all the advice I've received on how to deal with her anxiety but when I see her tiny pale face looking up at me, full of fear, I just want to bawl my eyes out.
Keeping that inside and putting on a brave face every day isn't easy.
For many people in Christchurch, Saturday night's 5.3 aftershock, took them straight back to the events of February 22.
The added damage this aftershock caused to already devastated homes, the flooding and the return of the dreaded liquefaction is clear to see, but the damage to our collective psyche is not yet it is the deepest crack of all.
My friend Tim, who has started an earthquake journal on Facebook for people to write their experiences in, said to me yesterday that to him: ''It feels like the city is being attacked by a poltergeist''.
Yet through it all, I see tremendous positivity and courage in the people around me.
Last Friday I asked a friend what he had planned for the weekend. ''Surviving,'' he replied.
We are surviving thanks to you, New Zealand - it's nice to know you have our backs.
We're all in this together and we all have earthquake fatigue.
Surviving this disaster isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. It would be nice to see your smiling faces at the finish line, New Zealand.
Those of us from ChCh living overseas have had a very intense experience of grief and anxiety too.We don't know whether to come home or wait a while. The supermarket checkout lady noticed I was a "kiwi" and asked where from,when I told her she leaned over and gave me a cuddle.....the tears came for me then.