Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquakes R Us

Well as some of you may have heard, there was a little bit of excitement here in Chengdu... I have now officially experienced my first earthquake. Not something I hope to repeat again but definitely unforgettable. First I have to say how amazing the Chinese people are!! I have never felt so much concern and selflessness from people I don't really know. They were concerned for our safety and comfort before theirs was ever considered. So as you probably know, more than me even, (we don't speak Chinese and don't have the internet in our hotel right now so we're getting updated pretty slowly) about the damage that was done at the epicenter in Chengdu. It was registered as a 7.9 at the center but we're about 60 miles Northeast (I believe...) from there so where we were it only registered as a 5.8. We were sitting in our dance studio on the second floor of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music when we felt everything shake. It got harder and harder as we realized what was happening. We ran under door frames like I was so well prepared to do in elementary school, and after a little while a group of hysterical Chinese girls ran around the corner and into the bathroom that I was in. It was hard to see them so scared knowing that they didn't have anything to turn to for comfort, but I was praying harder than I ever have before. Plaster and tile started to fall and I just hoped that it wouldn't get any harder or I knew the building might now hold up. After a few minutes it finally stopped and we all ran through the plaster and dust down the stairs and out the door. The professors in the school made sure everyone was out quickly and we all counted to make sure we were all there. It took many hours of just hanging out outside, watching the martial arts performers that had come to teach us, and dancing with our Chinese hip hop boys, before we were allowed to go into the cafeteria to eat. It took another few hours outside, getting to know the Chinese dance students better, before we could go back to our hotel. It was night by then and we tried to sleep outside but it rained on us so we slept on our hotel lobby floor. Everyone was pretty jumpy and it didn't help that there were pretty big aftershocks every once in a while. Tuesday we went up to our rooms and saw the small cracks and plaster but for the most part we were all so lucky and still have nice facilities to stay in. I wish I could say the same for all of Chengdu but it's hard knowing that there are so many people suffering so close to us. I know we were so blessed and that even though it was a hard experience, I have learned so much by it already. I will never forget the Chinese people and their goodness and optimism. I talked to many of the students on campus afterwards and no one complained about having to stay outside in the rain for over 40 hours or not knowing if their buildings were safe enough. So we were blessed in our little area of Chengdu and life is getting back to normal already. We're learning to enjoy our aftershocks, kind of fun, right? Our professors think that we will go to Guiyang early so I'll let you know if I fly out soon. I will miss this city and the amazing people we've met. Thank you all so much for all of your prayers and concern for us. We're doing well, we're actually having a party tonight with the dance students from the University.

Thanks Monica for your help with the blog:) I love you all and hope you are all doing well. See you soon.
Love, Nicole


Mo and Jayme said...

I'm so glad you are safe. i was so worried that I wasn't going to get my chinese souvenir! You seem like you really stayed calm. Isn't it great that we know where to turn in hard times?

Wiberg 5 said...

We love you Nicole! Avery and Maren are praying every prayer that you will be safe and that there will be no more earthquakes (Avery explained that she means ever in the whole world. I think it scared her a little)

Anonymous said...

Hey Nicole this is Breanna Lovell the earthquake sounds pretty scary but I'm glad you are ok! It seem like i heard you are home now. Well, thats good. See you later!