Monday, March 1, 2010

There's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on...

I know I haven't written in a long time, but honestly...it's time-consuming. I put a lot of myself into everything I write, not the least of which is the following blog...

Luke 21: 11 - And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

On Saturday morning, February 27, 2010 around 0530 I awoke to violent shaking. At first I thought Lonnie was shaking the bed trying to wake me up. I was about to get mad and start yelling at him to stop when I realized that it wasn't just the bed shaking...it was EVERYTHING in the room and the entire room itself. In mere seconds I realized we were in the middle of an earthquake. I had never experienced any other types of tremors before so I didn't have anything to compare it to. All I knew is that I was scared to death.

So, there we sat in bed holding on to each other until the shaking and noise stopped. And, oh, the noise! It was the most horrible, loud roaring sound. The closet doors were banging on the tracks. My jade grapevine was teetering back and forth on the bookshelf. It was like being on a bad carnival ride. I had never been physically shaken like I had been that morning. Immediately afterward I came close to throwing up and then started crying uncontrollably. It was an incredibly traumatic experience.

After we sat and collected ourselves for a few minutes I said I needed to call my parents. It wasn't long after that our Vonage phone rang. I looked at Lonnie and said, "oh my gosh. It was a bad one. It made the news." I knew no one would be calling at that time of the morning 15 minutes after an earthquake like that and it be a coincidence...or wrong number. Sure enough, it was Mom. It had made FOX News. And, that's about the only time you would've seen it. No one was killed that we know of, so that doesn't make for a good package on the news. Also, as an earthquake expert on FOX reported... He said, "What about Okinawa? They had a 7.0 earthquake and no one is saying anything about it?" He said that's because there's no media coverage. It didn't really click with me what he was saying, but now it all makes sense. There aren't any reporters here like there are in other countries. Everything here is Japanese. They don't have a station that reports anything in English. The only newscasts we get are what you are seeing there.

Since Saturday morning we have had 10 aftershocks according to the U.S. Geological Survey. If you click on the link you can view the list. I've felt a few of them. What I've been feeling is in my head and stomach. My body doesn't feel anything and my eyes don't see anything. When I check the USGS website I've seen that an aftershock has happened right about the time I start feeling that way. I get terribly dizzy and nauseated.

This is the East China Sea on 28 FEB 10.
We were waiting for the tsunami after being evacuated
from Camp Lester housing an hour before.

Here's a video that is eerily accurate as to what our house looked like on the inside and what it sounded like outside. There was a strange, intense roaring sound and it's something I will never forget. The Japanese Meteorological Agency reported the length to be 50 seconds. We woke up about 1/3 of the way in. It went on for at least 30 seconds after we woke up. It was reported that in Chatan, where we live, people felt it as a 5.0.

The infamous concrete double-wide.

It's times like these that you become appreciative of the concrete reinforced double-wides that you live in. It's also times like these that you become remarkably impressed at what they can withstand. I had a painting on the wall that was crooked. Picture frames on bookshelves were moved around. Cans fell off of my pantry shelves and something fell over in the china cabinet.

If you look closely at the top of the picture you can see
some of the ships that were going to "ride out the wave".

Yesterday we went to church and then brunch at the Butler O Club. While we were there they made two emergency announcements about a tsunami warning. We went home and passed through the guard shack. I saw a Marine in addition to the Japanese guards. I thought that was a little strange. Then we pulled into the neighborhood and noticed an awful lot of people getting into their cars...an AWFUL lot. I told Lonnie I thought something was up. Then we saw Marines going door to door and I knew something was wrong. We stopped two Marines to ask what was going on and they said the commanding general was ordering everyone to evacuate Camp Lester by 1400. We had 30 minutes to get what we needed, grab the pets and get off of the base. The only thing sentimental I could think of to grab was a binder of recipes that my grandmother had written in. Nothing else seemed to matter. We really didn't think anything would come of the tsunami anyway and that they were just being cautious. We ended up staying with Lonnie's boss at her house for a little over two hours until we got the all clear around 1720. We do know that they moved the emergency room from the ground floor to the 4th floor.

Hopefully this is the most excitement I'll have to endure for the rest of our stay here. After the whale watching excursion with Dad and our brush with death on that little trip and then the earthquake less than two weeks later I don't think the 'ol ticker can take much more. The whale watching trip? That's another story for another day...

"Attention! Tsunami All Clear! You may now return home."
01 MAR 10

1 comment:

Military Spouse in Training said...

I remember this. I was watching the japanese channel where it showed the actual wave (not big at all). I have a blog too if you would like to read it. milspintraining.blogspot.com