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 …