In a time of nervous concern, panic buying, and stun wonder at how such a serious virus as the Coronavirus could be happening with closures of festivals, concerts, schools, travel flights etc… Doesn’t the world feel like a small place right now? I can only hope and pray that our dear friends around the world are heeding to instructions and taking care of themselves. I am grateful that the internet allows us to connect with our love ones and friends wherever they may be.
Our country is also in the throes of remembering the anniversary of the mass shooting which took place a year ago 15th March 2019 in Christchurch. A city, that was already recovering from the loss of hundreds during an earthquake a few years earlier. We were in Christchurch around that time with a dear friend from the USA and enjoyed walking the new wide streets, shopping and dining in fresh, modern shops and restaurants and stayed in an inner city hotel made from used containers (from the outside) that housed a restaurant and a brightly lit reception with ultra-modern compact rooms (see some pictures in the video below). We flew home to Auckland on the Thursday afternoon and the following morning visited a school where my friend was sharing a story-time with the kids, which was followed later by lunch up at Golf Harbour on the North Shore, unaware of the shooting taking place down in Christchurch that morning. Had we stayed another night down there we would have been caught up in the horror and confusion as flights were cancelled in and out of the city for a time. When we heard and saw the horror on the TV we immediately hopped on our laptops so my friend could let her family and friends know she was safe as many knew she would be travelling around the country with me. Today 15th March (NZ time)a year later, many were to be gathering in Christchurch for a remembrance service – grieving for lost loved ones and grateful for those who survived and those who put their lives on the line to help but due to the Coronavirus it has been cancelled.
Through all this I am reminded of the memories of a wonderful time I had with my dear friend and critique buddy Vivian Kirkfield, who stayed with me for just over two weeks. She travelled first to Australia to attend the Sydney SCBWI conference 2019 and then flew on to New Zealand with me where I enjoyed showing her my special part of the world. Below is a video of some photos looking back at the fun time we had, the story-times as well as Vivian meeting the Auckland SCBWI group. And ending with the last night at my place, chatting till the wee hours while catching up with her family, via the internet.
Also the lucky winner to get an advance copy of Vivian’s bound ARC book – FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES is…..
Woohoo! Congratulations Pamela. I’ll let Vivian know and she will get in touch with you. Well that’s all I have for now. I hope you will enjoy the video of pictures below.
What a fabulous time you had with Vivian, but also a sad time for your country. Stay safe and healthy. xo
Yes I am so grateful I will always have the lovely memories of Vivian visiting us. Actually I forgot to mention that at our recent SCBWI meeting here her name came up a few times. They would so love to have her back. Yes as for the virus I have just posted a link of a video interview our Prime Minister Jacinda has given this morning on tv where she has instructed all visitors to New Zealand go into self isolation. And she will use force if she has to to ensure the safety of our people. She is quick, sharp and no fool. Check out the video on my timeline if you like. You too stay safe Darlene and your hubby.
I can’t believe I won. I’m so excited, Diane! This is a bit of joy in our troubled world. I live in Illinois and the governor announced today that all of our schools are to be closed through the end of March. Your country has suffered as well during the past years. Be safe. Thank your for all you do for writers. I hope I will be able to meet dear Vivian one of these days. Her books are truly amazing and so is she!
Yay! So happy for you Pamela. I have already let Vivian know so hopefully she will get in touch with you soon. When I told her she was like..”yay Pamela is so lovely.” I hope you do meet up with her. Vivian is priceless so much fun and a joy to be around. I miss her. Yes we have had a lot happen in recent years in our country but we are very resilient. Stay safe Pamela and congrats again. I know you will enjoy this book.
What a lovely video you’ve made of Vivian’s visit. Such a wonderful time you two had! I hope that New Zealanders have healed in some way since the mass shooting, and are weathering the latest catastrophe with grace. Please do all you can to stay healthy! xo
Thank you Jilanne for your kind comments. It certainly was a wonderful time with Vivian here. The memorial service for the 1st anniversary of the mass shooting was cancelled due to the country going into lockdown.. The people of NZ are eager to do what is right for the safety of others. Our leader unlike others we have heard, has paid out billions of dollars to keep people at home and safe and because of her compassion thousands of retired doctors and nurses have put their hands up to return to work to give support to help where they are required. Scary times. But hubby and I are safe in lockdown.
I’m so glad to hear your safe. Yes, you truly have an inspiring leader. Take care!