Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reflecting on an Earthquake

It's day two after the devastating earthquake in Van, Turkey and I've been thinking about how close I am to the epicenter, yet really how far I away I am from what I know and understand. No, I didn't feel any aftershocks. I don't think any prayers were said at school for the victims, although I might not have understood, if they had been said. I didn't seen any kids talking about it. And, the only fairly close impact on Malatya is that two teachers had friends at the university in Van and both of those friends caught the bus home to Malatya yesterday afternoon. I think officials in Van have asked many people to leave and seek alternate housing if possible.
I'm still processing the fact that I didn't even know about the earthquake until about 6 hours after the fact when I turned on my computer. In the United States, I would have known fairly soon, either from the "Breaking News" flashing across the bottom of the TV screen, from the radio while traveling in my car, from the TVs at the club while working out, or from my phone because I am often walking through, or sitting in Wi-Fi hots spots. Here in Turkey, I've mostly quit watching TV's in the mall because they are only showing soccer replays. The only radio I've heard is in my school transport and it only plays Turkish pop music. My health club doesn't have TV and has been playing the same CD for 2 months (speaking of which, one song uses the F bomb so frequently that I'm always tempted to ask them to fast forward, but then I get a little smile to myself when they stop the music during the imam's call to prayer on the loudspeaker at the mosque. The contrast is huge). And, I've yet to find a Wi-Fi hotspot in Malatya. I am really out-of-touch, but not sure if it really matters.
The updates I've gotten for this earthquake have all come from American news channels via my computer. Tonight, for instance a 10-day old baby was rescued alive and there is hope of finding more survivors! But the footage of the surrounding buildings has also impacted me. I am living in a building exactly like so many of those that crumbled to the ground in Van. I see many new apartment buildings being constructed near my house, but construction seems very rudimentary. I don't think this building would survive an earthquake..not even sure how I would get out if there were a fire. Then, I think about California and Seattle building codes and contrast that to my present reality.
Which reminds me to thank all who sent messages to me. It is nice to be remembered. But especially keep the victims of the earthquake in your thoughts and prayers. They have the difficult months ahead.

1 comment:

  1. i hope you are okay. The 2011 2012 eighth grade class is going very well at st.joes in AMERICA i hope you are having fun teaching in Turkey i dont know what time it is therre but it 4th hour when i sent this i hope you recieve it in time so you can show you turkey class that people in america are AMAZING and cool beans
    From Gillian Moll