Natural Disasters are an inevitable evil that we are all familiar with, a phenomenon that divides and unites a nation at the same time. I, being Born and raised in Belize, a country which coast is completely surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, am familiar with my fair share of disasters, especially from June to November. I have experienced tropical storms and in some cases tropical waves and most often I’ve experienced hurricanes, but an earthquake is something that I have never experienced before coming to Taiwan. Earthquakes have always been a hind thought for me, something I merely read about or see on the news, but experiencing it is completely different. When I first arrived there were a couple of typhoons, which were both exciting and scary because the winds were quite strong but at the same time we didn’t have classes, which was a bonus. When I experienced my first earthquake, it was sheer fright.  Firstly I was in a deep sleep so it took me quite some time to recognize what was going on, and when I had I was bolting for the exit, loaded with all the things I could carry with me on the way out. Before I could make my great escape my roommates intercepted and assured me that it was not that serious, and before I could contest them the shaking stopped. I felt stupid standing in the doorway in my pajamas, with my computer and some clothes, surely if it were a more serious earthquake I would not have been prepared! So my roommates thoughtfully sat me down and gave me the dos and don’ts for earthquake emergencies. 

        I remember receiving hundreds of texts and notifications that day, from other international students .The excitement of the earthquake carried over into hours of texts shared among friends, with detailed portrayals of what happened to them, each story more extravagant than the last, all trying to one- up the other. After the initial panic, I didn’t think it was so bad, but it was not something I wanted to repeat anytime soon, so you can imagine my surprise when just a couple of hours after that, the ground started shaking again! That was not my lucky day. Overall I was happy to have not been alone for the first time and I believe the shared first experience of that earthquake brought my friends and I much closer.  Having people around me to share the experience with definitely made things more easier, but I guess next time someone invites me to an earthquake simulation, I will think twice before I refuse to go, I think we never really pay attention to those things, we don’t really care about learning how to react to them because we believe that we might never have to go through that situation, a mistake I will make sure I don’t make again.

I’m very glad that this time there were not many victims compared to the previous one that caused destruction in the south affecting families as well as the infrastructure, I remember when I read about it I was shocked, but since it was so far away from Taipei I didn’t think it could happen to me. Tragedies are something that can’t be avoided, wherever part of the world you are, and I’m glad that so many wonderful and helpful people here in Taiwan, surrounded my first earthquake.