Friday, March 11, 2011 2.50ish PM
It was a busy afternoon as our lab were preparing for the IMA meeting. I was scanning some documents when the earth started shaking. We just had a pretty big earthquake two days before, so I thought it was just another one. It’s Japan anyways. However, it didn’t stop. just getting worse, and suddenly, the power was off.
The professor started to tell everyone to get out, and following my co-workers, we ran downstair and when we got out, people were already gathering outside the building, talking, looking on their cellphone, relying or looking for news about what had happened.
Honestly, I thought it was just a big earthquake, and never in my wildest dream did I think that it was a start of days of heart-breaking devastation.
We stood outside for 10 minutes ater the shake stopped, then we started to go back to the building, and I was told by my co-workers to put on my coat just in case we had to get out again. It was a cold day of March, when the cold wind blew the already near 0 degree C temperature outside.
Right after I put on my coat, the earth started shaking again and again, we ran, this time, we stayed outside longer, and after the building was declared safe, we were told to gather our stuff and went home. It was dark, security people were walking around flashing flash lights and I started to feel that probably, this is not just another earthquake in Japan. I tried to call my friend Ria, but the call couldn’t get through, and when I checked with my colleagues, I found out the phone connection was out, and somebody told me there’s a Tsunami at Kamaishi, a coastal town in Iwate, the prefecture where I live. At that time, I started to feel terrified. I wanted to stay at the lab since I didn’t want to be alone at my apartment, but they said there might be some broken continers of dangerous chemical so it was not safe to stay at the lab and we were told to go home.
When I got to my apartment, it was a mess. Glasses bottles were everywhere, and I just stood in the middle of my apartment, not knowing what to do. I sent an email to my family and loved ones letting them know that I was OK. And right after I hit the sent button, the earth started to shake again and a vase fell. I jumped under the table right away, as I was always told to do during the earthquake, and closed my eyes, hoping the earth would stop shaking soon. It was dark, cold, and aftershock after aftershock came. I held my phone tightly, tried to distract myself from whatever is happening around me, the falling glasses, water splashed from the half empty room-freshener, and messages started to flow from my friends and loved ones asking me if I was OK. I looked at those messages, and I started to cry.
And I started to realize I didn’t know how my friends were doing, Ria, Zachary, and I cried again, desperately trying to get a hold of someone, anyone.
Finally, I crawled out of under the table and tried to remember what to put in my emergency bag. I cursed myself for not remembering where I put my flashlight and for not having extra batteries. I put as many stuff as I remember in my backpack. Bottled water, extra socks, my medicine, towel, passport, gloves, mask, pone charger, emergency toiletries, cleared the exit, and set aside all breakable things, grabbed some blankets and camped under the table with my back pack and a bottle of wter by my side.
Aftershocks after aftershocks still came, and each time it came, my heart jumped and raced, and I just closed my eyes hoping it would stop soon. It felt like hours and hours, and I was contemplating if I should go to Ueda to Ria’s house. But each time I crawled out of under the table, another big aftershock came, and I finally curled under the table, and sent a message to Christina, my neighbor, to check if she was home. She and Krysta, my other neighbor were still at work, but Christina told me she would bang on my door once she got home.
So I sat there, talking to my friends using internet connection that was still on, and wait for Christina and Krysta to come home.
to the next post..