Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What My 1st Earthquake Felt Like

Columbia Heights Shopping Center (DC USA)
Where the escalators are located (photos not taken by me + on another day)


Just like normal employees in this grand country of ours, each day I take an hour lunch break. It's my personal time to detox from my work environment and all the stress. Shopping is therapy for me and today I left work at 1:15 PM, and was perusing around the shopping complex (that you see above).  Around 1:53 PM, I was JUST exiting the Bed Bath + Beyond (to go back to work) when I heard super LOUD noises and screams. All I could think of was "Ummm, should I throw myself on the floor (since initially I thought it was a shooting)?" It's amazing that in a "split second," so many things run through your mind. Everyone froze for that split second, not knowing what was going on because during that split second, the noises were getting louder and louder (notice the bottom picture, the building is huge and has many windows). Then panic kicked into and it was pandemonium!! There is an escalator that leads to the main doors and everyone sprinted for it... All I could think of at this point was, "Lord, is this what a terrorism attack feels like?" DCUSA is the largest shopping complex in Washington, DC and the metro train runs right below it. So, mind you, everyone is going nuts and pushing and shoving and I'm thinking, "Lord, please help us not get stampeded!" We were all running down the escalator and then we couldn't run anymore because there was a young mother with a stroller and holding her toddler's hand. At this point, people are screaming, "RUN, RUN, MOVE, GET OUT THE WAY!" I was directly behind the toddler and God turned on my "fight or flight" mode and I picked up the little girl without asking the mother and literally ran down the moving escalators in a dress and slippery flats. Again, in that split second, I thought, "OMG, I wonder if this lady thinks I'm about to kidnap her child??!!" But didn't care. At this point, no one still doesn't what is going on. I let the little girl go once we were outside and thank God, meanwhile, an angel helped the mother with the stroller down the escalators.

Once we got outside, people were crying in hysterics and my beloved older Latinas were praying at noticeably audible levels. Everyone was trying to call someone they loved and no one was getting through. All we saw were ambulances, police cars, and unmarked black SUVs zooming by and it made everyone more nervous. At this point, I'm sure everyone was thinking "this is definitely terrorism." Some were saying, it was maybe an accident of the metro directly below us and others were saying maybe it was the Washington Sports Club's pool that had erupted (???). Then I think some people's phones started working and someone screamed, "It was an earthquake!!" It completely made sense of why everything shook so fiercely and why my legs were wobbly. Since we didn't have access to our phones, we couldn't read about possible damage or any other details. Sorry if you saw me frantically contact my husband on FB... I was praying hard and while I knew God was in control, I still wanted to hear from my love and other loved ones (nothing wrong with that). After many unsuccessful attempts to get through to my loved ones, I just continued to pray and facebook (lol). They did not allow us to go back inside to get our car (which was underground) for fear of aftershocks. After waiting for 2 hours, thank God they finally let us back in.

All in all, I was shaken up pretty bad because it was my first earthquake ever. I know to those from the West Coast or other earthquake prone places, this was literally nothing, but for us who have never even remotely felt anything like this, it was terrifying. I know God had a plethora of prayers to tend to during those moments. Had I been sitting at my desk during this event, I'm sure I wouldn't have been so shaken and I'm sure I wouldn't have blogged about it (or maybe)...But I was literally in the middle of chaos. Thank you precious Lord, that despite being in the middle of chaos + panic, you still protect + shield us...Please help us to be ready for YOUR soon return.  

What was your story? Please share!

To read more about the DC 2011 earthquake, click here.

God bless + be safe!




  1. I totally understand now why you were soooo scared! I would've definitely been freaked out myself...I don't even know what I would've done in that situation. I am so glad that your safe, because it doesn't seem that the real threat to you was the earthquake, but rather a stampede. Thank God no one was hurt, chica! Take care and love your blogs!

  2. That's true what Janellie said. We can all understand now why you were so freaked out. We definitely had different experiences of the earthquake today. While I thought it was pretty cool (like I wrote on Facebook), your ordeal was very dangerous and scary.
    I also believe that the earthquake was much stronger in DC than in MD (Silver Spring) since I just stayed in my cubicle until it had passed and didn't even leave the building. I was more excited about feeling my very first earthquake than scared. But of course not everyone had the same experience.
    I'm just glad you and Hector are okay and safe now. We have to prepare ourselves now a family emergency plan since these tremors are more commen now in our area.

  3. ALTAGRACIA VENTURAAugust 23, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Wow, I had an Interesting day at work. But nothing compared to what you went through! Praise God you were safe!! I'm updating myself now with all that went on today through fb and the news. I'm glad both you & Hector are safe. As well as my mother who happen to be at work when it happened and not at home alone. God continues to remind us how we must turn from our ways and seek Him daily and inspire others to do the same so that we all can meet Him on that Great Day!

  4. Anissa, your absolutely right, if I would have been through that, I would have DEFINITELY panicked! I was on the phone with my aunt when I heard "Esta temblando esta temblando" and the line dropped. I was home alone, (In my pj's still lol) and my instinct was to run outside to an open space away from my building and trees. I can totally understand why you thought it was a terrorist attack because Marlon who works 3 blocks from the White House thought the same thing! It was definitely an experience for us east-coasters who have NEVER felt anything like that. I was even thinking that not even in my 4 years at LSU did I ever go through anything like that! Thank God He protected us and although we are all "shaken" up, it was definitely a wake up call for us to be ready and right with God and His second coming.

  5. Anissa,

    What made you pick up the little girl? What was the mom's reaction once you returned her to her mom?

    Well, I'm glad everything worked out and you're OK! :)