Reality bites?

Our culture, our society, the media, our peers and basically everything that surrounds us in the day to day of our little lives teaches us that babies are a happy thing. Babies are a miraculous event we should all be grateful for and everything associated with this is meant to be positive. I’m not here to disagree with all of this. After all, there’s something unprecedented about having a baby and realizing that there’s a little human being now alive because of you.

But I’m writing this post because I need to point out that not everything is peaches and cream when a baby is born. I want to say this because, in light of what appears to be a baby boom where many people I know are having children right around the same time I did, I was forced to come to terms with the fact that my instant reaction to having a baby didn’t quite mirror theirs. Theirs being the reaction we “expect,” the reaction we’ve seen and the reaction we’ve been taught: sincere happiness, marvel and wonder, immediate bonding and acceptance of all that surrounds the new bundle.

Sweet mother-newborn moment. Photo via Lifepregnancy.com

Woe is me. Photo via Television Trope
As mentioned in previous posts, I did a whole lot of reading during my pregnancy in order to “prepare” for what was “expected.” Every good pregnancy book will have a chapter on “Baby Blues” and postpartum depression. Bored, I skipped over those chapters. In fact, I incorrectly thought that postpartum depression was triggered because the mother “missed” being pregnant and I was certain that wouldn’t be the case with me since the last few weeks of my pygmy hippo-ness was chalk full of aches and pains. I figured, I’ve never been a truly depressive person (minus the abyss of eternal despair I’d throw myself into post break ups in the past) and the idea of being depressed, in every sense of the word, just didn’t register with me. Those weren’t the experiences I had heard about and it wasn’t something that ANYONE I knew even remotely hinted about. That type of thing happened to lonely, depressive, crazy cat women, who fell into loveless marriages at a young age.

Um, except it DID happen to me and let me just say, it was UUUUUUUGLY. Now, before your imagination starts running wild, I wasn’t psycho depressed, a la wanting to hurt my baby type of thing. No way, no how. I guess that now that I know how desperate things can seem, I am grateful that that extreme kind of postpartum depression (PPD) didn’t affect me. But it was bad enough that I began to question my own sanity and I wondered if I’d ever smile or laugh again and feel truly happy about anything. Perhaps this sounds dramatic and unnecessary and to that I say, F off!!! You have no idea what it’s like to have a baby and not feel motherly about it. Quite the contrary, in fact: feel as if it’s the end of the world as you know it.

I know that this doesn’t totally make sense. After all, you might say “hey, you were preggo for nine months and had nine whole months to get used to the fact that you were going to be a mom and have to worry 24/7 about this baby.” Except I’m here to REPEAT that no amount of time, studying, reflecting, reading or investigating actually prepares you for life with a baby. The before and after are so close together, it’s almost a mind f*ck to remember that just the OTHER DAY, you could come and go as you pleased and didn’t have to worry about a crying baby next to you.

I would cry every single day and wonder what was wrong with me. I couldn’t feel happy about the baby because I felt as if it was a little stranger and, even worse, that I was a stranger to my own self! Who was this person who now had to worry about breastfeeding and diaper changes and crying babies and color of poop (hers, not mine)? In a sense, it was as if I was in mourning and “what” I was mourning was my former life and my former self. That person, in a sense, had “died” when my new role as mom was appointed to me. Add to the fact that no one tells you that how lonely the first few weeks can truly be. Yeah, people come by and visit you and that’s always appreciated, but in my case I just felt like they were visiting me in prison and I envied their freedom. It depressed me that I couldn’t go out, not even with the baby because of the cold weather. If you’re not used to being home 24/7 with the sole responsibility of taking care of a newborn, then all of a sudden doing so becomes your own personal hell realized. I felt lonely – as if I was truly the only person I knew walking through the strange land of being a new mom (at that point, I was.)

What society would do to me (in my head) for not embracing momdom. Photo via pinealeye.com
Adding insult to injury is the guilt you feel for not embracing motherhood the way it seems that everyone else embraces motherhood. Facebook might tell a million lies via happy pictures that everyone (incl myself) upload to their pages but it was exactly those pictures I recalled of smiling moms with their newborns in my Facebook feed that made me feel like I was the worst woman – worst MOM – in the world. I was certain that if we lived several hundred years back, I’d be burned at the stake like the witch I was for not reacting “properly” to the birth of my daughter or not wholeheartedly embracing my new role as a parent.

Yeah, those were some tough times that I don’t wish upon anyone. I know it sounds weird… after all, society makes us question “how can a new mom not instantly love her baby?” As I said, I’m thankful my PPD wasn’t as extreme as it could have been and I was by NO MEANS near reaching the horror of Andrea Yates. But I was sad and I was scared. I felt lonely and overwhelmed and I felt that if anyone besides my family and G knew, that I’d be horribly judged.

So then … can I tickle you pink with a story of a happy ending? Part of the reason as to why I waited this long to write about my experience post my daughter’s birth is so that I could genuinely give you hope for yourself as a future mom who may go through something similar … everyone said this to me and I didn’t believe it at the time, but now I can jump on the bandwagon and tell you – remind myself – that IT GETS BETTER!! In my case, the first step was putting aside the fear of judgement (my own and by others) and merely recognizing that I wasn’t feeling what I wanted to feel or reacting how I wanted to react. I had to trust others, namely my doctor and my husband, and accept help in all of the required forms (there are many options that a medical professional can explain). I also had to help myself and though it was hard, I’m now writing from a position where I can look at my daughter and want to hug her and kiss her, just as I always imagined I’d do. Of course the passing of time helps immensely – now I can go out with her! We run errands, go out to lunch, get our Starbucks fix, etc, etc all with baby in tow. It’s how it should be. I’ve also returned to my pre-baby routines at home, something we all take for granted but something vital I had put aside unknowingly when I was in the midst of the PPD.

With the passage of time and with the help of my doctor and husband, things got better. Things are GETTING better (to the tune of baby sleeping longer stretches and for me, learning the ropes – yay!) and I’m happy to say that I’m closer to my former self than I’ve felt since my little 9-pound human was born. Pretty soon, I’ll be going back to work and though I’m sure it will be another hard transition, I’m very much looking forward to it: A return to a role I recognize from my “former” life.

At the end of they day I feel that I went through hell and back when I became a mom, but I reached the light at the end of the tunnel. While it’s hard work and still somewhat overwhelming, I embrace the fact that since going through this, I’ve been empowered to get through ANYTHING – and just in time as I head back to the corporate world (don’t mess with the bull, you’ll get the horns!)

So to answer my own question, does reality bite? THANK F*CKING GOODNESS, NO, REALITY DOESN’T BITE. Not anymore.

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My Labor Story (complete with Q & A)

I talked about it, I wrote about it, I griped about it. I feared for the day and lamented the day. I had anxiety everyday for the past two months over it and imagined the worst-case scenario with every article I read about it.

Then finally, on April 30th, I lived through it. “It” being actually giving birth – me, the person who has had the recurring anxiety dream since I was a teenager that I all of a sudden go into labor without previously knowing I was pregnant. No joke, I spent years haunted by this dream so you can imagine what the thought of giving birth did to me in real life.

This is not the labor you've heard about....

At first I didn’t want to believe I was going into labor, but the pain, which felt like taking a brutal hit with a baseball bat right to my lower back was different from all the other pains I had experienced in the last two months of pregnancy. Still, my attitude was “sit and keep watch.” The reality was that I didn’t want to be going into labor. First of all, it was nighttime and if there was ANYTHING I had repeatedly hoped for was to go into labor during the day. You know, so I could count on a full night’s sleep and proceed with energy the following day for the labor portion of the agenda. The mere thought of being up all night in pain just made me want to crawl into bed and sleep. And that’s exactly what I did. After a long, hot shower – where yet again I was met with a debilitating pain I can now recognize as contractions – I crawled into bed and decided that this wasn’t labor, but instead, false labor known as Braxton Hicks contractions.

Yes my good people, I tried to Jedi-mind trick myself into thinking that I was NOT going into labor. This mind over matter exercise I was putting into practice was destined to fail, of course. I was obviously in labor and as much as I tried to carry on with my evening as if there was nothing to see here, this baby was RSVP-ing her appearance to the outside world in a matter of hours.

And speaking of … one always hears these cray cray stories about women being in labor for a million and a half hours. To the unknowing mind, this sounds like one is doing the stuff seen on tv the entire time – i.e. pushing and sweating and hurting for 30+ hours. The reality is that labor involves the ENTIRE process of giving birth, and the pushing, sweating part, is a small fraction of the process. Also, it’s not bloody and it’s not painful (that is, if you have a lifesaver called an epidural.) Don’t get me wrong, before the epidural I was in the most painful state of my life. I didn’t realize that something could hurt that much. I always used to wonder: “What do contractions feel like?” and I’ve read answers that state “like really bad menstrual cramps.” UM – WRONG!!! It’s like really bad menstrual cramps times 5,000. No, times a million. Then imagine a baseball bat being involved, hitting you right where it hurts most – and hard! And it’s not just your lower stomach but also your entire torso! It’s a sharp pain that starts either in your abs and immediately grabs your back, or vice versa. In any case, your back is involved which makes it ridiculously difficult to “walk it off” as many sites tend to suggest. You can barely stand up straight, let alone walk it off. I also tried to breathe through it but that was a joke as well. Whoever suggested either of those as possible solutions to the pain was clearly a Birkenstock-wearing, hippy.

In any case, my labor story started off like this and continued on until 5:56 am when the little pygmy hippo made her debut out here. Between the time elapsed with the details above and the actual time of birth, a total of 10 hours passed. Of these 10 hours, 5 were spent in complete and total, utter and relentless, pain. For all those who are interested, I’d really like to address some true-to-life questions about how it all went down between the Jedi-mind trick, the contractions and the actual birth. To do so, I think the best way would be via a Q&A of the top questions I’ve been asked about the whole ordeal. If there’s one thing I won’t do is sugarcoat it so here it is, in all its gutsy glory.

My Labor Story Q & A:

Q. Does your water really “break?” Because that sounds gross.
A. I don’t know if your water will break but mine didn’t “break” … it kind of just sprung a leak. Since tampons are forbidden during this time, I had to bust out the woman diapers – I mean, the maxi pads – which was all kinds of gross. But in short, no, I didn’t all of a sudden gush the new Niagra Falls from in between my legs. It just felt like I had my period – and I was 12 again, with a big ol’ pad to weather the storm.

Holy OUCH!! via nysora.com

Q. What does the epidural feel like? Does it really NOT hurt because I call bullshit!
A. Let’s get one thing straight – the actual insertion of the epidural hurt like a MOTHERFUCKER. Like seriously, I burst into tears. I wasn’t sure if the contractions hurt more or if that ginormous whatever-you-call-it being inserted between two discs in my spine hurt more. It wasn’t just a prick, wham, bam – pain is gone in two seconds type of thing either. It hurt, then it hurt some more, then it REALLY hurt, then I thought I’d pass out from the hurt and just for shits and giggles, it hurt one last time. And then all of a sudden ….nothing. Bliss. Heaven on Earth. Zen. In.the.zone. Call it what you will, all of a sudden after 5 hours of intense pain and then 10 minutes of spinal cord pain – no pain. Ahhhhh, the almighty epidural. Trust me when I tell you that despite the pain of it going in, the relief you feel afterward is SO worth it. And no, seriously, you don’t feel the pain of the contractions.

Q. You pushed a 6 pound baby out of your va-jay-jay… tell the truth – are you a disfigured mess down there or what?
A. Oh the vaginal birth … good for quick healing, bad for your post-baby sex life? On the contrary, my dear friend! That is, if you have a doctor like the one I had who made sure that after all was said and done, I was neatly put “back in my place” so to speak. I didn’t know it before, but birth is a sure way to leave your inhibitions at the door. What I mean is that there is NO ONE – NO ONE – within a 10-foot radius of you, who doesn’t take a gander at your hoo-ha at some point or another throughout the ordeal. Most of these people will take a gander repeatedly throughout the three days you’re in the hospital (clinica). It gets to the point where you just spread eagle for anyone who walks through the door, just to save time. All this is normal, of course. What I found to be off-your-rocker strange is the fact that EVERYONE wanted to see the stitches of the episiotomy … and what’s more, they wanted to see them because it was my doctor who had performed the procedure – they all agreed, he does “fantastic” work. Never before, and probably never again, have I had so many people oooh and ahhh in splendor at my nether region. Amidst the bloated middle, disheveled hair, makeup-less face and swollen feet, I could rest assured that my hoo-ha was left in top-notch condition. Thank you, Dr. Alcalde! I salute you.

Q. Holy shit!! You had an episiotomy???!!! What the hell?
A. Yeah, I know, crazy. And no, I wasn’t expecting it and no, the doctor didn’t tell me about it until right AS HE WAS PERFORMING it. However, I didn’t feel anything (all hail the mighty epidural) as it occurred and so, it would be a lie to tell you that it hurt. What DID hurt was the healing!! OMG it hurt. I couldn’t sit straight for about 5 days and the first few days were awful! But at that point, the baby was out, I was in recovery and apparently my hoo-ha was looking spectacular – what was the point in complaining?

Q. Is the post birth bleeding “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” style?
A. Good Lord, where did you hear that? Actually, yes and no. The first few days it is … then it’s not. Then it’s like a normal heavy period that eventually gets lighter. You’ll survive. I did.

Larger than life. via Wikipedia.org

Q. So that means you have to wear those “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” pads that the hospital gives you?
A. Yeah and they suck. It’s like you’re walking around with a throw pillow between your legs. I wasn’t a fan and I don’t think you will be either. You’ll feel better knowing that by the time I left the hospital, I didn’t need the throw pillow pads anymore so you just have to suck it up for a few days.

Q. So you gave birth to an actual human being – do you now have feelings of self-entitlement? Are you all “I am woman, hear me roar” now?
A. Listen buddy, I’m not sure I like your attitude! But since you asked, no, I don’t feel entitled just because I’m able to make a person and pop her out. Yes, when I think about how crazy it is that a woman’s body knows exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it, I find it downright miraculous. But after the fact, when the baby is out and you’re faced with actually having to care for it, your ass is kicked from here to Albuquerque in such a way, that any feelings of smugness quickly fade. In fact, it’s the worst “standing-naked-in-front-of-the-classroom” equivalent because you are vulnerable, have no idea what you’re doing and all of a sudden realize you’re faced with the greatest challenge (and opportunity) in your life. There is no smugness to be had when all you feel is, quite simply, humbled. Scared and humbled.

And that, my friend, is where you find yourself immediately after giving birth. But that’s a story for another day.

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Crime, punishment … and justice?

If I write the name Daniel Zamudio, does it mean anything to you?

What if I wrote Daniel Zamudio is equal to or as similar as Matthew Shepard? Do you even remember him?

I have to admit that when I heard Matthew Shepard in comparison to the recent events surrounding Daniel Zamudio here in Chile, I had to do quick Google search. I didn’t immediately remember Matthew Shepard because his death occurred in 1998, just as I was spending a good four months living in Chile prior to starting my Junior year in college at UC Davis. In other words, I was too wrapped up in my own little world to have remembered the event or the subsequent rally for changes that occurred after it.

Daniel Zamudio passed away on March 27th, after almost a month-long grasp at life. He was beaten and tortured in early March by four men, claiming to be Neonazis. Once hospitalized, Daniel was put in an induced coma and was declared brain-dead just this past weekend. And now he’s passed on.

This doesn’t sound all that different from what occurred to Matthew Shepard on the night of October 6, 1998. A young, homosexual man, at the wrong place at the wrong time, surrounded by monsters who didn’t see him as human. Who saw him as less than human, enough so, that torture seemed irrelevant, the term almost not-applicable.

I wonder about the kind of school, whether formal or environmental, one needs to be exposed to so as to regard violence – no, TORTUREas irrelevant to a human or living being. In an attempt to wrap my mind around such acts, motivated strictly and only by hate and fear, I recalled quite vividly a course I took in college on Criminology. Before my Chilean counterparts ask themselves why on Earth I took a Criminology course in college when in fact I studied something completely different, briefly speaking, in the U.S. you are encouraged (forced) to study a wealth of subject matters during your first two years of studies. I had a sociology requirement and the criminology course fulfilled that requirement.

"Crime and Punishment" - classic novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that takes us into a criminal mind and the motivation for murder.

Mostly what I remember about this course, where the first three months were spent explaining the different theories as to why criminals exist or why criminal acts occur, are two things: 1) it freaked me out and 2) there are theories upon theories upon theories behind the criminal mind. Last night I took to our storage room and after rummaging through some boxes, found my sophomore year notebook where my sorry version of notes from this class were buried deep. I guess I could have Googled the theories but I found it easier to refer to these notes because they were written in they “lay-est” of layperson’s terms (don’t worry, I won’t run through ALL of them – there are lots!)

The most basic of basic theories (and the oldest) is this: crime is a choice. People choose crime because there is absence of true punishment. This, coupled with self-interest, motivates the choice to commit crime.

Yet another theory states that criminals have different biological and/or psychological traits from those who are not criminals.

Another theory states that crime is learned, for example, via peers who are criminals or perhaps even in environments where crime per se isn’t condoned but isn’t necessarily frowned upon either (a controversial example I offer you: when purchasing pirated items is considered justified and not a crime.) Yes, I realize that especially here in Chile this is a controversial example.

Yet another theory tells us that when someone can’t achieve “normal” success (money, status, power, etc) via non-criminal routes, the pressure of this will result in crime under certain conditions.

Believe it or not, there is even a theory that states that our daily activities affect the likelihood that we’ll become a target of crime, especially if there is no type of authority or guardianship present during the process of said routine activities. I don’t so much like this theory because it reflects the outcome of crime on me. As if just going to the grocery store is a reason for someone to act out (towards me) in a criminal manner.

Fifteen years after taking this course and after scanning pages and pages of notes from this time period, if I had to deduce why people commit crimes (again, based purely on my notes) it would be either because of 1) control, 2) opportunity, 3) social learning and 4) strain and/or pressure.

Why all this?

Simply my feeble attempt to make sense of acts that, to me, make no sense at all. I simply cannot imagine hating someone SO MUCH based solely on that person’s preference of who they like and who they decide to be intimate with. Why is that my problem? Why was that their problem when they attacked Daniel? Why then, is the same rationale not continuously rehearsed, say, with prostitutes? Or people who marry, then divorce, marry, then divorce? This isn’t a statement to condone but a statement questioning why this rationale is limited to a homosexual? But that’s my rational mind trying to make sense of irrational impulses and reasoning.

Personally I blame the society where these criminals have spent the majority of their time. Delusions of grandeur (based on the fact that they are proclaimed neonazis), lack of proper and immediate punishment from authorities, ignorance, poor stimuli, learned and justified criminal activities, family support or lack thereof. Finally, in some form, I believe that in the case of Matthew Shepard as with Daniel Zamudio, their attackers also had fear in common. Though I’m sure they wouldn’t agree with that …

I wonder if my own personal reaction to these acts are in some way “criminal-minded” as well? In cases like this, I would support eye-for-an-eye. No questions asked. No rehabilitation, no mercy. Why is this? Because I’m angry. I’m angry that such barbaric acts continue to occur in this day and age and I’m angry that the powers-that-be have not introduced sufficient deterrents of such crimes. And it angers – and scares – me that the perpetrators, as well as would-be perpetrators, just don’t care. This is a cycle that I see: There is lax authority and so, the would-be perpetrators aren’t deterred. How can the authorities really instill iron-fist consequences to such acts when surely there are still a great number out there who don’t “agree” with homosexuality? Though I’d like to think that even if they don’t “agree” with it, surely they wouldn’t condone such violence?

RIP, Daniel Zamudio

In the end I guess this process of trying to comprehend the incomprehensible is all pretty much in vain. It’s not going to bring Matthew Shepard back any more than it will bring Daniel Zamudio back. It can’t erase the hatred that exists in this world towards people who simply choose other options. It doesn’t revert ignorance and it doesn’t feed kindness and understanding. Criminal minds don’t care and the authorities and powers-that-be will continue to lament without really offering urgently needed solutions (deterrents, as I like to say). The examples we have are in the Matthew Shepard case itself. Though this crime occurred in 1998, it wasn’t until 2009 that President Obama was finally able to sign the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation (among other things). In the case of Matthew Shepard, legislation caught on almost a decade later. It makes me wonder how long it will be until Chilean legislation and subsequent law enforcement react accordingly to the acts of violence committed against Daniel Zamudio.

Though really, is justice ever truly served?

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"All 33 of us are fine in the shelter."


I’m not the kind of person who is moved to tears easily. Unless I’m watching a cheesy commercial then of course, all bets are off and the waterworks begin. However, this story about the miners and how they were found to be alive after 17 days trapped 2,300 feet below ground, under the San Jose mine near Copiapo Chile, moved me. Of course I cried.

I cried because these human beings, after living 17 days in a small area I’ve read is similar to a “small flat,” have genuine hope in their eyes. Putting myself in their position, in the faintest of ways, I’m sure I don’t come close to the relief they felt when the probe finally reached them and they had the first opportunity to communicate with the world above. And they did so with the note above which simply reads “All 33 of us are fine in the shelter.”

“Fine” is a relative term. They’re fine relative to what the other option could have been which is … a dreadful extreme. I always think logistics and really ridiculous details most of the time, though. In this case I wonder what it feels like for them to not shower, to not have a beer, to not watch soccer, to not smell freshly baked bread, to not drive … to not change underwear, to not brush their teeth, to not hug their wives/girlfriends. Now that this has happened, do they regret the decision to work in the mines? Is that even an option for these experienced miners or is it just their way of life, the way trains or “ferrocarriles” were a way of life for my grandfather.

They haven’t yet learned that it will take anywhere from 3-4 months to build a shaft wide enough to bring them up one by one. I was thinking that by the time this is finally accomplished, it will be Christmas time here … isn’t that perfect timing? Not for them though. I’m sure they wish they could be with their families for the upcoming Independence day celebrations (Chileans are a patriotic bunch, especially on the 18th of September and ESPECIALLY since this year marks 200 years since Chileans won their independence from Spain.) I’m sure they wish they could just have their own space, up top, right NOW.

How will they feel once they learn that they have to keep surviving, keep their sanity and keep each other going for at least three more months, probably four? Four months can fly but only with activity and experience. Four months ago it was April (the month I got married) and it definitely puts the length of four months into perspective.

When they pull the miners out one by one in December, flash forward to the future when you see those same images on a screen, reciting a story. This is for sure the story of a made-for-tv movie. Or a tell-all book. In the meantime, I hope the most basic of things for them right now – sanity and comradery.

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The Aftermath

We decided to go to Jumbo (one of the major grocery store chains in Chile) today and it was a madhouse … literally the lines extended farther than I had EVER seen them… note below:

In his usual strategic/baller manner, G had the great idea to wait in the “15 items or less” line while I weaved around each aisle gathering items we might need for the next few days. We gathered 30 items and each paid separately. We beat the system! Boo-yah!!
But seriously, the grocery store was a NIGHTMARE mess. I think it’s insane that we’re all over-reacting (and I include myself… why else did I head to Jumbo today along with five billion other peeps?) The fact of the matter is that at least here in Santiago, where damage was minimal, life will most likely be ‘back to normal’ by Wednesday, if not sooner. Yet there we were, with half of Santiago, buying groceries as if the world was about to end. If that were the case (and we realize it’s not, thank God) then I shouldn’t be buying ice cream … considering I only had a 30 item quota, you can see my priorities … enough said.

The biggest issue we have right now is G’s kids. They are in the “campo” which is basically a rural area, type of farm-ish zone, where his ex wife’s family has a house there. Normally this is a great place for his kids to spend their weekends, as this place has animals, a pool, nature, fields to run wild, etc. AKA a kid’s dream.
But after yesterday morning’s events, the fact that they are in the middle of nowhere means that cell phone reception and electricity are likely to come back in full effect daaaaaaaaaays from now. As a parent, this is stressing G out like NO OTHER. And I don’t blame him. He spoke with his kids this morning and learned that they had slept int the car with their mom because the family home was unstable (at least one wall had come down in the mostly adobe built house.) Now he can’t get through to them at all. Since there’s no power there, the most likely scenario is that his ex’s cell phone died … and even though he knows they are safe after the EQ and that their mom and family members are with them, that doesn’t mean it allows G to worry less about them. Let’s think about this: his kids have no running water, no electricity, no way to get out of where they are due to road closures … and they’re sleeping in a car. He’s sure that food isn’t an issue since they’re basically on a working farm, but as a parent, after a major natural disaster, he’s not going to rest until he literally SEES that his kids are ok. If he hasn’t heard from or about them by tomorrow evening, most likely he’ll grab his car and try to reach them once again. (Note my previous post to learn about his first attempt to reach them).

G has been watching the news NON-STOP since the EQ. Literally nonstop. At first it really, really annoyed me. After all, we were SO FORTUNATE to not have any major catastrophe happen here in Santiago where we live – why on Earth was he listening to one major catastrophe after another on tv (all near the epicenter zone)? Then he set me straight: he’s the equivalent of a VP here and many, many people throughout Chile report to him…yet there are handful of people – of those, some who live right where the epicenter occurred – which he hasn’t heard from yet. Are they ok? Do they have homes? Are their loved ones accounted for? He watches the news to see what’s the latest in each region of Chile. Further, he watches for the simple fact that he hopes to hear that the roads are clear … that way he can either reach his children or their mother can decide to drive back to Santiago. Needless to say, I am now keeping my mouth shut about the 24-hour news reports in the house…

Finally, my thoughts post-traumatic earthquake are these:

1) I f-ing hate the aftershocks. 11 floors up and believe me they feel like new earthquakes ALL OVER again. Not fun.

2) The emergency response in Chile is inspiring… though I’m concerned that not once did I hear about a tsunami warning for the Juan Fernandez Islands here in Chile …yet they were devastated by a tsunami and about 20 people are missing.

3) Looting and delinquency is prevalent in the southern regions (7th and 8th) because these poor people have no food, no water, no electricity and thus far, no help has arrived. A curfew is in effect from 9 pm to 6 am in the city of Concepcion in order to halt the said looting and vandalism. In Santiago – at least in the comuna of Providencia where we live – things are very quiet and very “normal.” Our visit to the grocery store was chaotic in terms of masses, but surprisingly orderly.

4) I’m tired and have lost all sense of normalcy. Until G’s kids are back in Santiago and he’s secure in their well-being; until we see advanced efforts in restoring basic infrastructure and necessities to the 7th and 8th regions of Chile; until the aftershocks cease and we all remember what it’s like to just live in peace at home –> I’m not going to rest well.

In Santiago – in Providencia specifically (as that’s all I can speak to since this is where we live) – we are SO FORTUNATE. I see no major structural damages when I walk outside and I see no one in a panic about missing family members or missing necessities. Yeah the grocery store was a mess, but it was an ORDERLY mess, if that makes sense. Everything we needed was THERE and there was no panic about that.

I wish this same tranquility to everyone who has been displaced and has felt immense misfortune and tragedy by yesterday’s early morning events. After such an event, nothing calms the nerves more than NORMALCY. I wish I could say to all of them “come to my home, I’ll take care of you” but of course that’s not possible. So in place of that, I just hope that G’s kids make it back to Santiago safely and that we can once again welcome them into our home this coming weekend …

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