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How the 2010 Earthquake in Chile Changed My Life Forever, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 977

Essay

About five years ago, I lived through a devastating earthquake that wracked Chile just one month prior to my leaving Chile to go live in the United States. I felt fortunate enough to have evaded death as an earthquake that was scaled at a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale, and I lived to tell the story. I was living with my parents and grandparents at the time of the earthquake, and the earthquake took place on just an ordinary Saturday morning. I recall how the intense shaking lasted what seemed like an eternity but was only for a few minutes. I did not know at the time, but this devastating earthquake marked the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded in history. Beyond the physical infrastructural damage, the earthquake’s violent shaking also spawned a deadly tsunami that severely damaged several littoral Chilean villages while also causing fifty seven other tsunami warnings issued. Damage related to the  earthquake and the tsunamis that broke out was reported in Japan all the way to San Diego, California. Huge aftershocks as high as 6.6 magnitude were recorded mere minutes after the initial quake. This earthquake marked the first major traumatic event and calamity at the hands of mother nature. The destruction spawned by this calamity and how quickly it tore Chilean society sunder taught me a valuable lesson: life is ephemeral, tenuous, and unpredictable, which is why everyone should cherish every day and their loved ones.

Up until the day of the earthquake, I had lived a relatively tranquil life, and I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. Everyday I was grateful for having such a blissful and calm life demarked by relatively few struggles or issues. Little did I know that such serenity I felt was merely the calm before the storm, the storm being the earthquake that I never anticipated would come ever in my life. I recalled immediately after the earthquake passed one sermon I had heard in church after an earthquake hit Japan. He had said within his powerful discourses that earthquakes are ephemeral tremors that will end. They are God’s way of testing the will and persistence of humanity in the face of various trials and tribulations. I had gone to sleep at around 11 o’clock P.M. the night before but awoke suddenly at around three in the morning despite the fact that I am a heavy sleeper and often sleep well past dawn. I had a sick feeling that this tremor was one that would change my life forever, and my gut instinct proved correct.

Throughout my childhood, I had experiences various small earthquakes, however I never realized that such seemingly temperate disruptions functioned as preludes to imminent disasters and calamities. Living in Chile, mild tremors are a fact of life, yet this particular tremor that took place in the early hours on a Saturday refused to peter out like the others I had previously experienced. A seemingly cataclysmic tremor broke out in the middle of the night, and the vociferous and violent shaking resulted in my feeling of total utter shock and trepidation as the ground seemingly was becoming quickly undone. I heard glasses break, furniture being thrown around in the living room, and the screams of neighbors who were also stunned by the loud shaking and the ground sinking inwards. I looked out of my bedroom window and could see tall buildings swaying side to side, threatening to topple over as if they were a dominoes that I had played with as a young child. Consumed by fear, I prayed to God that this day was not the last in my short life, but if it was, I hoped for salvation. Indeed, while my religious fervor was quite low prior to the earthquake, I found solace in religion and truly believed that it was by God’s grace that I along with my friends and family survived this calamitous event prior to leaving Chile for the United States.

As I exited my abode in order to find safety, the destruction and suffering I witnessed was searing and profoundly traumatized me just a month prior to leaving Chile. People were sobbing uncontrollably, and there were buildings that had crumbled to the ground while others were partially destroyed. As such, the streets of Chile gave me the impression of being in a hostile war zone. As the aftershocks continued to inflict more damage through violent convulsions, the streets crumbled as well, opening up to the core of the earth, a sight I had only seen in science class. I ran into one of my cousins as I paced the streets who told me that her apartment com plex had completely collapsed into the earth, and she was fortunate to have been working late that night. Indeed, my aunt and uncle were missing, and unfortunately their bodies were covered some days after. I had never experienced bereavement and loss as well as the trauma that I experienced that night. Ironically, the streets that so resembled a war zone were actually the safest place to be as the aftershocks continued to roll in the early morning hours. We took shelter in my cousin’s car for days prior to returning to our apartment when we knew safety was assured

Once I was able to safely return to my apartment, I reflected on the events surrounding the calamitous earthquake that materialized days before. I shuddered to watch international coverage of the earthquake because I was so traumatized and confronted death and destruction on a quotidian basis. I did not realize at the time how serious of a natural disaster this earthquake was.  However, I soon learned that mother nature cannot always be controlled, and it often causes disasters that underscore how precious and tenuous life truly is. Although I moved to the United States shortly after the devastating  earthquake, I never take every day I am alive for granted, which is why I continue to live my life to the greatest potential I can. Indeed, I believe I got a second chance at life after surviving this traumatizing earthquake in 2010.

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