Huh, how do I even begin this? It would be an understatement to say that the past week was turbulent. It was frightening, surreal and shaky. It was full of insecurity and sadness for all who lost everything. It was also full of relief, gratitude and community connection. It was a truly life-changing week.
My earthquake story begins on the first floor of our house where I was clearing up the table after lunch. Just as I was collecting the plates, the electricity went out. Scared that the washing machine that was on will drain the back up battery I started yelling “no no no” and running towards the bathroom. My mother in law had the same thought and as both of us reached the bathroom we heard a very loud thunder and realized the house is shaking. I don’t remember what happened next but she claims I was pulling her towards the stairs. We both ended up sitting on top of the stairs holding on to whatever we could. My husband, who was outside, was trying to get to us, but he couldn’t climb up. In retrospect neither of our decisions at that moment was a smart or safe one, but my mind was blinded with panic and couldn’t think straight. When the shaking subsided a bit, we managed to run outside. We were all unscathed and the house was standing. The rest of the afternoon aftershocks were coming and going. And it was a very scary time.
Later on, when I got a chance to think about everything that happened that, and the next several days, I realized I am lucky beyond measure. I am grateful we were all at home and together when it happened. I am grateful it was Saturday and we decided to stay in for lunch instead of going out. I am grateful our house is well built and sustained no damage. I am grateful that the biggest injury was a bruise on my leg. I am grateful that we have a large garden where we could spend several coming days and offer shelter to our neighbors who do not have that kind of space. I am grateful for the for community that got together and made this scary time a bearable (and sometimes) fun one.
I was amazed at the speed with which the neighbors put our camp together. The tent was up within 15 minutes. Tea and biscuits were passed around and jokes were shared. It was fascinating, encouraging and reassuring to have all these wonderful people around and feel like nothing bad can happen now – we are all together and we will take care of each other. Nepalis are amazing! I had an amazing support from the Croatian embassy and never felt like I was left to my own devices. Trust me, that’s such a good feeling when you are not in your own country.
Even though life goes on as usual for us in my house, I feel saddened by the loss of lives and infrastructure in other parts of Kathmandu and Nepal. The best way to help long term is to support an organization that will stick around even after the initial relief is distributed. I encourage you, my readers, to donate to a reputable organization that you trust and help people in Nepal who were not as fortunate as I was. Thank you!