“Sarah, Sarah!! Grab your chanclas and come downstairs!! Hurry!” Dee cried out to me as the world’s most horrid sound blared in the background.
In a state of confusion, I rushed downstairs and out the door just as the ground began to shake, the telephone poles swaying and dogs howling in reaction. Oh how little I knew.
This is not how I imagined my experience at all. Just three days in Oaxaca and I can now say I have survived my first (real) earthquake. Apparently, they’re quite common here due to being the collision point of three tectonic plates (North American, Cocos, and the Pacific). In fact, four years ago, Oaxaca experienced its largest earthquake in history on this exact same day. Nature has a funny way of commemorating.
Being from the Midwest, earthquakes (temblores/sismos) are not something I am overly familiar with, but I suppose that will change! In reality, my sole experience is from 2015 when west Michigan experienced a whopping 4.1 magnitude earthquake and my mom’s reaction was simply, “Sarah, did you fall down the stairs again?” In fact, when I told my mom about the earthquake here in Mexico, she so kindly asked, “Ya sure you didn’t fall down the stairs?” Knowing that even amidst a natural disaster my mom still found time to make fun of me provided me with a sense of comfort.
All in all, while truly unexpected, my first earthquake helped commemorate a day full of firsts. My first day of class; my first full day living with Dee; my first time solely speaking Spanish for an entire day; AND, my first time navigating Oaxaca on my own (a BIG step). When I write these accomplishments they don’t appear to amount to much, but to me, they felt monumental. Safe to say that even though I am only four days into my semester abroad, it is going to be an experience that literally rocks my world!