We Experienced Our Fist Earthquake September 7th, 2021


This post is a bit out of order, but after last night I felt the need to describe what happened.  We experienced our first major earthquake here in Mexico City, MX.  Todd and I have experienced an earthquake before, him more than me.  This was much more.  We lived in Frederick, MD and Sydney was just 4 weeks old.   I thought the washing machine was off balance in the spin cycle.  Our flimsy apartment shook like a fall leaf in an autumn breeze.  It was over as soon as it started.  Then I thought nothing of it until the phone calls came to make sure I was ok.  

This was different. 

The sensations I experienced last night was unusual.  Now this is common here, and Mexicans as well as those used to living along the fault lines are used to the earth moving.  But I am a Floridian.  I was groomed for hurricanes.  Hurricanes are a force to respect.  I compare them to being attacked by a turtle.  That or a more relatable perspective I have used before is the famous scene from  “Austin Powers” 

In full disclosure I was in the tub.  I had successfully tucked the kids in and said all the prayers, stories, and snuggles that go along with that.  I was done for the day and drew myself a nice warn bath!  I didn’t feel anything at first but then the water started to move in an aggressive way over the rim of the tub.  The SPLASH got my attention.   We heard alarms, but we always hear alarms here.  Noise in CDMX is a constant companion, welcomed or not.  Then our phones started buzzing and Todd told me to get out, there is an Earth Quake.  I didn’t waste any time in this, grabbed a towel and my phone because I knew I needed to remember this and I wouldn’t with how scared I was.  I never thought I would feel that way.  I looked behind me and around me and then I felt our hotel room swaying!!  This wasn’t a small vibration, this was a long listing where my flat floor was at an angle, and then back.  It felt similar to a sway of sail boat resting on the seas outside of harbor.  But there was no water.  I was dizzy because my head was not matching my footing.  My feet and my body were not on the axis I called home.  I was dizzy.    Todd and Sydney were holding themselves in a doorway for support while I hurried and got dressed. I was walking quickly with broad  steps for balance.   After dressing I scooped Justice up from sleep,  grabbed a jacket for him and Sydney, and had Sydney grab shoes.  Todd got the dogs and kept telling me to remain calm.  I was as calm as I was going to get, and I wanted to get out with my children right then!!!  He again told me to stay calm, and now I was getting angry…. “I am going now!”  I glared with Justice on my hip and Sydney leading the way.  

I remember seeing these green signs throughout buildings reading “Routa De Evacuacion” or something like that in Spanish. That didn’t need too much translation.  I understood where to go. All I could think of was “follow the green signs”.  Down the stairs we descended from the 10th floor.  Round and round as I could hear my shoes tap on the metal evacuation stairs.  The yellow paint on the edges of each step gave me comfort and caution.  I was waiting for it all to fall in.  I was just wanted all of us out, and really didn’t know what feelings were precipitating.  I din’t want to cry, nor be angry, but I was feeling something I didn’t recognize.  I just wanted out.  I was hell bent on getting out. 

Evacuating from the 10th floor Video Link

Finally we reached the bottom of the stairs and out the back of the hotel.  As we rounded the back side of the hotel we proceeded to the opposite side of the road where we joined a group that had already evacuated.  The sweet staff guided us out and checked on us repeatedly.  We stood there all soaking wet from the cold rain kids, dogs, and all.   There we waited with other guests, Siclo “Spinning” class participants from the second floor, the staff from the from desk, the restaurant, finance, management, the spa, and all cleaning.  We were all there waiting safely together.  It was ten o’clock in the evening and all these folks were still at work!  As we stood there together, as a family, and every other minute a different member of the staff waited and checked on each other.  The dogs were soaked and Max was very uncomfortable with all of the sensations that had occurred.  I had to agree with the dog this time.                      

All were calm, but an energy of caution had moved in as a morning fog does blocking all signs of land.

People out on a rainy day
The some of us who waited for the all clear
A woman wearing a hotel’s slippers
The “pink” slippers Sydney gladly snagged as the staff handed them out.
A woman outdoors
The Hotel is just fine, and this blows my mind.

As I stood there I kept remembering that we had been given a gift and God has plans for us here.  As spooked as I was I remembered that God has his hand over us.  He even reassured me with a sweet message form our last hotel in the States!  We are going to be ok, we will be ok, we will be “Bien”.  I know this but I am not feeling it just yet.  Oh how my feeling can really mess with me.  I will have to keep choosing these thoughts over how I am feeling.  But at times I will need to slip away and vent out all of this emotion I am caring now.   

A man walking in to an establishment
A family of three with their dog walking into their hotel room

We were given the all clear as engineers checked what they needed to check and say all is well.  All power remained on so we took the elevators up.  All clear.  I then started bedtime all over again, but this was more like therapy.  Sydney recounted every step as Justices acted it out.  We did our therapy story time, snuggles, and kisses.  Eventually we had a successful bedtime.  I sat down on the bed, emotions frozen, and I looked at the whatsApp.  I had messages from so many sweet new friends here.  People I had met just that day, our soccer coach, tutors, parent association moms, Todd’s. boss, and teachers.  I was amazed, and it made me feel as if I was home.  

As the last kisses of night were given freely the door knocked, and I jumped before I realized I had in a honestly frightened way. My body still not comfortable with whatever “All Clear” we were given.  It was the service staff bringing us our camomile tea we had ordered before the ground began to shake!  The Floor service manager offered us our tea,  a hug, and a bit of local knowledge. “This building is 100% safe.” He said.  “Also September is the month for Earthquakes.  It will be ok.” He finished seeing that fear had made its way too close to me.  I thanked him profusely and accepted our tea.  

Warm cup of tea
Our tea

The City of Acapulco experienced an M7 earthquake and what we felt were the tremors from that.  Expecting more to come,  I laid in bed, fully dressed, unable to sleep.  

We are blessed, protected, and all those things that God has promised us.  I have peace, but I can not deny the reality that I am a bit rattled still.  Its a place of choosing my knowledge but also giving respect to a trauma I experienced.  I must appreciate both.  This is so new for me, all of this is new.  It’s easy to feel the fear, and stay in it.  If  I stay in the emotional place I am in now I’ll grow frustrated, sad, fearful, and resentful.   I don’t want that.  So sometime today, when it is quiet,  I’ll find a few moments by myself and process.  Writing this blog today is the beginning of that.  

I am spooked still, even though we have been given the all clear.  

Thank you for being apart of this journey with us.  This was a first for us.  

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