– Christchurch, February 22, 2011

The loud subterranean noise and the shudder reminded me of my student’s years when I used to travel to uni by train. Each time there was an accident on the tracks and someone pulled the emergency brake handle, the train grinded to a halt with a quivering, violent and jerky movement accompanied by that sharp, metallic noise produced by the brake shoes against the iron wheels. This time, I wasn’t in a train. I was desperately clinging to my desk unsuccessfully trying to maintain some form of balance.

As soon as the movement stopped, we all went out to the meeting point on the street, clutching our mobile phones to contact family and friends with no results.
When the adrenalin rush takes over, images in your mind flash pass with incredible speed: my school back in my birth country being totally destroyed in the 1965 earthquake, one of the many that constantly shake Chile every now and again. Crumbled walls, the crying, the chaos, the never ending hours trying to reach your family, your home, your friends. The sad aftermath beyond human suffering: the destruction of the iconic structures that form the soul of a city.

All those thoughts in just an instant.

What will I find when I get home?

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