Yesterday was a difficult day. I spent most of it angry or on the verge of tears and feeling useless. I had to return to work (ur building was inspected and there is no structural damage), but really it was the last thing I wanted to be doing. Now don't get me wrong, under normal circumstances I really enjoy my work. I like the people who I work with and I have been getting some cool projects to work on. However, in the midst of a natural disaster that has left thousands in my adopted country without homes, food, clean water and in some cases, family.....work is the absolute last thing I feel inclined to do. I find accounting absolutely irrelevant in the face of catastrophe. Of course, I understand that our power plants and plant employees must continue to work in order to generate energy for the country, but accounting....really?....I mean.....it is not important right now. I feel completely silly asking people for information to meet deadlines that our corporate office has placed on us, when god knows this country is suffering. What is important is helping the relief effort in any way possible. I don't care if it means going shopping for food and clothes to send to those most affected, it if means volunteering to accept donations, or even going south to help sort through the rubble. I have been so torn between feeling this strong need to be helping and not being able to because I have to go to work. Yesterday was a day of distractions....conversations with coworkers, bracing ourselves for the strong aftershocks that we felt, examining the emergency exists, and trying to cross at least one thing off of the to-do list. Once the idea dawned on me to sell Christian's photography and once we decided that it was a great idea, I felt much better. I had a plan and a goal to get the website up and running, get out a mass email and get people to buy pictures for the sake of helping Chile. It helped a little to focus on work, but even today, my concentration levels are practically null.
It doesn't help that physically and emotionally I am stressed out. I try to not stress, but it is almost impossible not to. The small replicas ("aftershocks") don't bother me so much, it is the stronger & longer lasting ones, the ones where the walls start to sound and they seem never-ending, that make my heart race. I can instantly feel shots of adrenaline in my system as my body prepares for fight or flight mode. For 2.5 years, with each tremor, I have remained calm and waited for the shaking to stop. But after Saturday's experience, I don't know if I'll ever be able to not become altered when the shaking begins. The 8.8 earthquake began just like any other tremor--a slight shaking I expected to end within 20 or 30 seconds. But it didn't. It turned into 3 minutes of what seemed like the world turning upside-down, with deafening sounds wiping my mind thoughtless. And so when the shakes and sounds start again....my body innately reacts in a similar manner. Yes, I am more aware now. Yes, I know to take cover. Yes, I know to not to try and escape while there are movements. Yes, I know that aftershocks are expected and that they supposedly they be as strong....but instincts just don't work off of assumptions.
The other problem?? Being away from home and my family--this increases the worry, wondering if they are ok, where they are, if they are acting in the correct manner and are safe. I know I can't stay at home with my family forever, that isn't realistic, but even just for the week would be helpful. Poor little Dulcinea is home alone today and I just hope there aren't any aftershocks while we are at the office....the poor thing gets really scared and I can't imagine how she would be alone on the 11th floor. I really don't want to come home to my puppy having a heart attack.
Last night there was strong (6.1) aftershock off the coast in Valparaíso. I don't know the exact magnitude that was felt in Santiago, but it was strong and lonnnnnggg. It was also at like 11pm when most people were trying to go to bed. Then it was followed by two other aftershocks and my nerves were just rattled. I couldn't go to bed until like 12:30am which I was finally able to relax a bit. I still sleep with a lamp on in the room, and maybe you might thing that is exaggerated, but it helps me sleep a bit better. Needless to say I didn't sleep very well last night....nor have I since the earthquake....and getting up for work this morning was difficult.
Work is going a smidgen better today. I have actually been able to cross some things off of my to-do list, but I think a bit part of this is due to the fact that Christian and I have figured out an additional way to help. It is helpful to know that while I have to be at work, people can and should be buying pictures for a good cause. It is really a win-win situation...the buyer gets an awesome picture and Chile gets money to help rebuild what was lost. And I guess with that I will close....