Thursday, February 28, 2008


We had an earthquake here in the U.K. last night.

When something like an earthquake hits, everyone has a story. Here is mine;
At about 1:00 in the morning, mid-peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the couch I was occupying started shaking violently and the laptop fell off my knees. I thought that my boyfriend, who was sitting on the floor next to me, was messing about. To ensure that he knew I wasn’t amused, I looked down and grimaced at him. Surprisingly, I saw him looking back up at me with the very same scowl. Then, our flatmate came running out of his room- white faced- and asked “what the hell was that?”
It was then that we concluded it must have been an earthquake.

Within minutes, phones were going, texts were buzzing and everyone in England had updated their Facebook profiles with humorous comments about their houses falling down.

One thing I noticed today was the fact that everyone felt freer to speak to others. It’s interesting how an entire nation can maintain a collective togetherness from a minor natural disaster. It was as if, for a day, we were all in this together. The employees at the tills in the grocery stores felt more inclined to speak to the shoppers. The women at the gym that normally never chat with me were talking my ears off, telling me their own earthquake stories. Since we ALL felt it, we were ALL the same- if only during our conversations. There are no cultural divides when something like this happens- no income brackets- everyone shakes in a quake no matter how good your job is, how beautiful you are or how high your status is. I like that- although I find it sad that it takes a natural disaster to demonstrate equality.
Maybe all we need is a good shake once in a while.

Below are a few articles about the quake- It was the biggest England has seen in 20 years. Luckily, no one was hurt;,,30100-1307071,00.html

Last night was the second earthquake I’ve experienced. The first one was in Florence, Italy in 2002 and I slept through it. This time, I was a bit luckier. It’s an odd feeling, knowing that the earth is shaking beneath you and there is no way to stop or control it. We are all at Mother Nature’s mercy- each and every day- but unless She presents us with these occasional small reminders, it’s easy to forget. The largest natural disaster I ever lived through was hurricane Andrew in Miami in 1992. I was too young to understand the enormity of it but I knew that my life had changed. The house I had grown up in was destroyed, school started later in the year and my parents fought with insurance companies for years following the actual event. Luckily, last night’s quake didn’t change our worlds- but it did serve as a reminder that the world can change us, if only for a day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

fascinating. You are right. It should not take a natural disaster or an unnatural disaster to bring everyone together. By the way, our house was not destroyed, just damaged. However, to a 10 year old it probably seemed that way.