Saturday, October 22, 2011

the quake

Most of the boxes are finally unpacked. Most. And I was just starting to feel settled in to our new home in Berkeley, California. I will admit, I have been homesick for the Midwest--even though their temperatures are dipping well below zero overnight and it's only October. But I love mitten weather and cozy sweaters, and we have summer weather over here! However, I am slowly getting over the homesickness and am starting to enjoy the daily sunshine with no jacket necessary and the fabulous farmer's market that happens every Thursday, just a block from my house. And the beautiful park right across the street, where families and puppies are always playing. But just when I started to feel settled in, the world began to shake . . . literally.

During my first earthquake, I was driving home from a doctor's appointment, proud that I had finally mustered up the courage to drive through Berkeley. (Pedestrians and cyclists darting onto the street from every direction! So scary.) I parked the car, came into the house, and called my mom, as promised, to let her know how everything went. Then I noticed a text from Todd. He wanted to know if I was OK, if I was frightened from the earthquake. Earthquake?

Earthquakes were my biggest fear when we moved here. I grew up in the Midwest and earthquakes are so foreign. You only hear about the worst ones and the photos look like Armageddon. And after all, it was Thursday, October 20, 2011, only one day before the end of the world--for the second time--according to Harold Camping. Or was it his third ending? I can't keep track. Anyway, I called Todd to tell him I was OK. I hadn't even felt the quake because I was in the car. He felt relieved but said that he had to attend and afterwork function and would be home later than usual.

Knowing I would be home alone, I ate an early dinner and retired to the sofa to watch TV. (Yes, we finally have television installed!) Then at 8:17pm, everything started shaking. The windows were rattling and the rumbling was growing. At first I thought it was just the little kid who lives above us, going through his usual 9pm stomping routine, but then it started to shake more. It sounded like a high-speed train pounding toward our house. Then, it stopped. I didn't know what to think. Was that another earthquake? The house stopped shaking but my bones continued to tremble. I checked the Web to see if another earthquake had been reported. Nothing. Then I checked Twitter and there were already accounts from UC-Berkeley students about the second earthquake, or aftershock, as they say. Perhaps that is why this area is the incubator for social media. It's how we get our news.

Thankfully we are all safe and Todd make it home about an hour later. It was quite the welcome, California. Thanks.

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