Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Earthquake in Chile, and I have nothing to complain about.

Before I left Chile I did a bangup job of cleaning my apartment. No furniture unmoved, no surface undusted. As I was in the Centropuerto bus ($2 to the airport from Los Heroes metro sortof) I remembered two things that I hadn't done that gave me pause. One of them was watering my cactus. I know, I know, cacti live for long periods without water. But it had been some six weeks, and since it's the only plant that can survive my crazy here-not-here-here-again schedule, I'd wanted to show it a little love before taking off.

The other thing was the espresso maker. I had left a half a pot full of espresso in the kitchen, and I thought to myself, what a horrible mess that will be! There could be mold! The house could smell like coffee!

Or there could be a giant, house-flattening earthquake (not mine, luckily), and the door to my bedroom could fall off its hinges, and every book I own could be all over the floor and a bottle of sparkly nailpolish could commit suicide and glue a bunch of stuff to the floor, the side of the toilet etc, and there would be piles of broken glass and things that would make me ask the question "what is that?" or more appropriately "what was that?" And the kitchen could look like this:

la cocina

Which, all considered is not really a big deal, and some sweeping and tossing is all it will require, and I'm not that good of a housekeeper anyway.

Being back in Chile after a giant earthquake means that everyone has a story to tell. I think people (especially traumatized people) should tell their stories again and again. I don't have much to say about my experience, so I won't say much, but I hope everyone I see, old and new takes the time to tell me their story if it will help them to feel just a tiny bit better. Which, to clarify, is what I meant when I said I wished I could have been here. Not to experience it, not to feel the fear, but to listen to people who needed support and lend an ear, a shoulder or a hug.

Me? I need a new blender jug. No homemade frappucinos this week. No big deal.


hal said...

Glad to hear it!

planetnomad said...

I know what you mean about people telling their stories, and you're so right about how therapeutic it is. But you have one to tell too--about your travels. Hopefully you'll be able to both listen to your friends and tell your own story.
Glad you're back and your apt is standing! Did it still smell like coffee?

Bystander said...

Welcome home. It does look a bit of a mess, but, if you hadn't cleaned before you left, it would be dusty as well! Always look on the bright side.

Richard said...

Glad to see you are OK. At least your floors aren't (I am guessing?) carpeted. Nail polish on anything furry and carpetlike would be seventh-circle-of-hell difficult to remove. :)

And well done on the epic cycle!

Sharon said...

I'm glad everything is OK. You were very lucky. Pictures of my post-earthquake kitchen make people thing about tornadoes :P.

Katie said...

I, for one, was quite glad you weren't in Chile during the earthquake because it meant one less friend in the Chilean blogosphere to be worried about. By all means, lend your shoulder and ear to those in need, but don't feel guilty about sharing your NZ experiences with us as well.

Abby said...

Ditto on the whole story telling front. I have had countless old ladies in elevators tell me their story and want to know mine, and I don't even know them!

I feel like asking about the earthquake has now been incorporated into the standard greeting. It's like, "Hola, como estas, como viviste el terremoto?"

Vacation Villas said...

I really thought Chile's earthquake could be like in Haiti. Thank God it wasn't that bad.

Nimble said...

I was curious to see what the tremblors would do to your ordered apt. I am glad it just calls for clean up work. Stories we tell about our lives are very important and the earthquake will be a landmark for everyone.

Pam said...

I am SO glad that you did not suffer more damage, so glad that you had a home to return to, and so glad that the limited damage leaves you able to support those who need it.