Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Boiling Water

I'm boiling water again. I keep a huge soup pot on my stove and each evening I boil water. I'm starting to feel like a witch, with a cauldron.

It's kind of fun,this boiling water thing, unless of course I run out. Besides, it reminds me of my childhood in Indonesia. I only have to boil my water for three minutes. Back when I was a child in the village, water had to be boiled for twenty minutes and then poured through a charcoal filter after it cooled. Okay, I'll be honest I didn't boil the water back in those days. We had young women who worked for us and they did it. Sometimes I helped pour it through the filter though!

You won't believe this, but I didn't know it was World Water Day when I started writing this. In fact, when I started writing I didn't know World Water Day existed! I only found out because I googled 'boiling water' to see why it was we boiled our water so long. Maybe we didn't need to do it that long, but not one of my family ever came down with cholera or typhus when people in the village died as epidemics rolled through.

I wrote this because I want you to turn on the tap, pour a glass of water and drink it. Brush your teeth, and rinse your toothbrush under the flow of water from your tap. Appreciate water that flows clean. (Please refrain from following these instructions if you live in Christchurch. And if you are from my old neighborhood, I apologize for even mentioning running water when you still don't have any.) But don't feel sorry for me. I don't mind boiling water, it is just one of the little things that changed, and it is one that doesn't matter.

It also doesn't matter that we have bits of paper lying around from insurance companies, and the EQC. Today when I swept, in the dirt on the floor was a card with a number for counseling services offered by the EQC. These are the little reminders of life that changed. All very unimportant things that are ever present in our life. We never forget. New plates, new furinture, not enough mugs, empty cupboards, all remind us. EQC notes, and boiling water, the occasional tear when one of the little girls remember something that is gone (okay me too)keep it close to our emotions. But just in case you forgot, we had an earthquake, and if you come to Christchurch, remember to boil your water.


  1. I watched "Volcano" last night (the movie) and I heard one character (a reporter) term the natural disaster that had occurred as "...this attack on Los Angeles..."

    It infuriated me. It seems that the media (in the real world this time) cannot report something without sensationalising it. They use aggressive words and body language. There is never any true compassion in their voices - even when faced with a starving child.

    Your blog posts are the antithesis of this - the voice of reality, the true tragedy in personal view. Keep writing them - keep boiling the water and letting the true view come to the surface.


  2. I read your blog and I think how truly amazing you are to face the whole weight of it with such good cheer. I hope that you and your family will be able to put your lives back together soon, have the little things the rest of us take for granted, like water straight from the tap.

  3. We boiled it 20 minutes because thyphoid forms spores that can only be destroy by boiling at least 20 minutes. A lot of people said 5 minutes was enough, but I'm glad mom and dad made the decision to go the whole 20 minutes.

    Here's a little article on the subject...


  4. Hi Islandrose,
    Ahhh..thyphoid. I looked and looked, one article said you didn't need to do anything more than bring to the boiling point and I remembered that wasn't right!!!

    Thanks sis!