Yesterday for the first time, I experienced earth tremors (the ground didn’t really shake – it vibrated). This event was nothing compared to the damage and horribly tragic losses experienced by Nepal and Haiti. This was a magnitude 4.7 earthquake that occurred 21 km below the surface to the east of St. Lucia.
At 10:16am, I was sitting at my desk when I felt vibrations in my feet. By the time I realized that it might be an earthquake, a coworker was walking through the building letting us know we need to evacuate because of an earthquake. We gathered in a open space outside and made sure everyone was accounted for. When it was clear that nothing was damaged, we went back into our offices.
The cool part about this for me as a newcomer – other than not getting hurt – was that it provided a bit of a bonding experience. I now had a shared experience to discuss with coworkers.
On the bus after work, I mentioned to the woman next to me that that was my first earthquake. She asked about my home country and I mentioned that earthquakes do not tend to be felt in my part of Canada. I did mention though that we had tornadoes where I grew up. She thought that was way scarier than St. Lucian earthquakes – because they are not damaging like the recent ones in Nepal.
She then asked if the mosquitoes here bothered me. I mentioned that they don’t really bother me but that I also don’t like them. I started saying how the mosquitoes were horrible where I grew up and that the worst bugs I have experienced was during a visit to the Northwest Territories. We were there during a particularly bad summer and I mentioned the black flies that take pieces of skin with them when they fly away. She was shocked and then I realized I was painting a very unappealing picture of Canada – she had already mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to handle the cold.
We then discussed hurricanes – which she also didn’t like. Hurricane season in St. Lucia is from June to November and my coworker mentioned something about July being common for storms. When I mentioned that my family will be visiting in July, we smiled sort of a knowing smile of nervous excitement.
All is good here by the way, no damage reported from yesterday’s earthquake. Let’s see if I experience my first hurricane here too ;-)