– Wellington, New Zealand

I was on the fourth floor of the Cotton Building on the VUW campus in Wellington. On a normal day, the wind is strong enough to sway the building back and forth slightly, but there was no wind on this February day in 2011. When the earthquake hit, I did not feel anything strong, but noticed the draw string to the window shade swaying back and forth slightly. I turned around to my officemate and asked, “Was that an earthquake?” She said she didn’t feel anything and we went back to work. About 3 minutes later, she received a text alert with images of the Cathedral and other damaged Christchurch buildings. An overwhelming feeling of panic and helplessness came over us. We know these events will happen, we just never know when or at what magnitude.

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