Today I almost started looking for flights to Canada, or any country that is NOT known to be seismically active. My nerves are shot after last night’s earthquake in Chile. It was only 6.7 according to USGS, but it was only 114 km from Santiago. For perspective, the epicenter of the 8.8 in 2010 was around 400 km away.
Last night around 12:15am I got really thirsty, you know, the kind of thirsty where your whole mouth just aches and you need to drink something NOW. I got up and got myself a glass of water which I promptly chugged and then tried to fall back asleep. I had just gotten into a nice sleep when I was literally jolted awake.
I can tell when a temblor is pretty major when my closet doors start to rattle. And they were rattling away. I sat up in bed and waited for it to stop, but it didn’t, so I got up to see where Charlie was and stood in the doorway to my bedroom. At that point, it was definitely a strong-ish quake, but I thought it would stop. Nope, it got stronger. I ran to my apartment door and undid the dead bolt, because if there is one thing that scares me more than earthquakes it’s being trapped. I opened the door and hung onto the door frame, swaying side by side and willing the earth to stop moving. I thought, if only I can press against this door frame hard enough, it will stop shaking.
And it did, but I didn’t. My whole body was trembling so hard I could barely type a message to my boss telling her I was okay and to ask her which students she wanted me to contact. I was standing in the middle of my living room, Blackberry in hand, trying to type, when I started crying.
Part of it was nerves, and relief that the temblor wasn’t bigger. The other half was pure anger that the ground. Why couldn’t it just stay still? Why did it have to wake me up in the middle of the night? Why did it have to cause me to panic and tremble and cry?
This is the second big quake in less than a month. I didn’t respond like this after the 2010 quake, but I think it’s because I didn’t know what an earthquake was like before then. Now every subsequent tremor brings back bad memories.
I’m fine now, and I realize that earthquakes are just a part of living in Chile. But that doesn’t mean that they become any less nerve-wracking!