My Saturday morning alarm went off at 7 a.m. but on a Saturday morning, when there are no classes to teach, I turned the thing off.
Ah, the luxury of sleeping in!
Not more than an hour later, the earthquake struck.
It came as they all do with a gentle shaking.
I opened my eyes and waited for the small trembler to pass as most did, almost unnoticed. These were the earthquakes we had now-a-days in Sichuan. Nothing like the devastating May 12 Wenchuan Quake, just 3 weeks shy of its 5th year anniversary.
But this one surprised all of us.
The bed shook, slowly and quietly at first and then rocked violently side to side.
O.K. Not so small.
Time to get out!
Familiar sounds from 5 years ago followed me outside my apartment building: windows rattling, doors flying open, neighbors calling out and hustling down the stairwell, shouts in the distance of students in their dormitories, evacuating outside, cell phones turning on as people began calling friends.
Memories of “The Big One”
This was my 8 a.m. wake-up call over an hour ago, so reminiscent of 5 years ago when I was living in Chengdu. We all remember that earthquake. It killed over 90,000, flattened cities and towns and caused an entire country, whose people are usually concerned only with themselves, to unite as one and come to the aid of others.
It was a very moving, trying time in the history of China and one which I witnessed first hand.
My thoughts as stood outside along with everyone else: Is this tragedy yet to take place again? Where was the epicenter? How many were killed or injured?
According to BBC reports, this was a 6.6 magnitude quake, roughly 71 miles southwest of Chengdu, and is located on the same Longmenshan fault as the 2008 tragedy. Ya’an (about 100 miles from us) is the largest city in that area. 47 have been reported killed and over 100 injured, although that number will probably rise.
Years ago, my Chengdu neighbors and I sat outside our small apartment complex while awaiting the danger to pass. I remember our pet owners bundled up their animals and made sure they were safely by their side. I had Little Flower with me, along with my pity save, abandoned kitten Little Ghost, who was enjoying attention from the children wanting to play with her.
This time, I am at a safer distance farther south. Luzhou might experience the outer-lying waves of bigger quakes as well as mini-tremors, which are coming to us every 10 minutes or so, but it will never get the fuller impact of those up north.
Please keep in your thoughts and prayers those who are less fortunate than us here.
I’m sure as the day progresses, we’ll be hearing more and more about this morning wake-up call. Hopefully, it will not be anything nearly as catastrophic or heartbreaking as 5 years ago.
From along the Yangtze, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your day.