The one of the biggest events in my life occurred on April 25, 2015 when a 7.9 magnitude Earthquake struck my home in Kathmandu, Nepal. I've thought so many times about what to write about this event...but I guess I will just try to dive right in and tell you about my experiences.
First of all myself and all of my family, as well as all of our friends were safe! There were no injuries (my daughter only scraped her knees when she was trying to walk wrapped up tightly in a pool towel as a blanket, MINOR compared to all of those who lost their lives), and our house had very minimal damage.
Saturday April 25th started out just like any other Saturday for us. I headed out to a recreational facility that we always go to with my two children, my driver and my nanny. My husband was busy working that morning, so I asked my caregiver to come with us so that I could take my daughter swimming in the pool and focus on her safety while I had another pair of hands and eyes to watch my son.
The main plan for the morning was to go swimming since the pool had been open for a few weeks and my little girl loves to swim and we hadn't been yet. We headed out but the weather was a little off. Well it turned out to be much colder than the forecast suggested and unfortunately myself and my two little ones were under dressed because it was a bit chili. Also the sky was full of clouds and it seemed like it would start raining at any moment. Of course my daughter still wanted to go swimming but I took her over to the pool and showed her that no one was swimming because it was going to rain. We even felt the water so she could feel how cold it was. So we all went to the playground and played for a bit and then went into the restaurant so we could have an early lunch. This is a pretty typical Saturday for us and the plan was to head home after lunch.
My daughter finished lunch and wanted to play on the playground some more but my son was still munching away so I had our caregiver go with her. I saw a friend who had recently done a trek to Mount Everest base camp and I hadn't talked to her since her return. So we were chatting about that at about 11:50, when suddenly the ground started shaking. At first I thought that I was about to pass out but then I started to hear glasses rattle. I stood there frozen in shock for what seemed like eternity still in denial that this was an earthquake. I don't know how but then I suddenly snapped out of it and grabbed my son out of his highchair and started trying to walk with him the short distance to get out of the building we were in. Technically in this situation you are supposed to get down under a table and protect yourself but I panicked and the door was close so that's where I headed.
Walking, let alone walking holding a toddler was no small feat at this point. The ground was moving violently in every direction. At this point I was just so scared that I was going to drop my son, or trip and fall on him and hurt him. I saw others running near me and I called out for someone to "help me I have a baby" but everyone was trying not to fall themselves. Suddenly I had safely made it a few paces outside of the building and I saw others sitting down outside so I sat down as quickly as I could. I was never more relieved to be sitting down and know that both my son and myself were safe! But the ground was still moving rather violently. The closest descriptions I can come up with are it was like trying to walk on a ship that was rocking hard, or trying to walk during airplane turbulence.
When the ground finally stopped moving the restaurant manager yelled that he smelled gas and we needed to get far away from the building. At this point I still hadn't seen my daughter and was starting to panic. I don't remember exactly what happened next but I think my driver came to find us and took my son so that I could try to go back into the building before it was too dangerous to get my diaper bag and stroller and all of our supplies out, in case the gas caught fire. Just before I went back in I saw my daughter in the arms of our caregiver and finally knew that she was safe!
When I brought our supplies out everyone was gathering out on the softball field where we were away from the restaurant and it was a wide open space where nothing could fall on us. We ended up camping out there for the next six hours until we were moved to a safe building that was designed to withstand earthquakes up to 9.0. We were very lucky that we were at one of the locations that Americans are supposed to go to in times of emergencies like this. As soon as I could I tried to get a hold of my husband but by then the cell phone lines were jammed. I tried not to worry as I felt in my heart that he was ok. About an hour later I found out that he was ok because he had gone down the street to our drivers house and brought his family to stay at our house which was safer through a text message. And about 4 hours later I finally got a call from him that he was safe and I got to hear it myself.
But the bottom line is that we were safe when so many weren't as lucky! There was very minimal damage to buildings in our neighborhood and things could have been much worse. In fact the first time I let myself cry about it was watching footage on CNN of areas that had been affected. It really opened my eyes to the bias of the media to show you the worst images and stories. I looked around and could see that things were relatively ok, but if I believed the TV it wasn't.
So that is the shortest version of my story of what happened to me and my family during the earthquake. I have many more updates to post but I have been trying to think about what to say for this one the longest. If you have any questions please ask me.