Growing up in a small town in Iowa, I never felt an earthquake before I traveled around Latin America.
The only other state in the US that I had spent years in was Ohio.
No earthquakes there either from what I remember.
Before I did leave the US, the usual natural disasters were either tornados or flooding from the Mississippi.
With the flooding of the Mississippi, that really wasn’t much of an issue.
It hurt the downtown area that I grew up in by flooding some of the buildings but we lived higher up above where the water could get.
That shit is scary.
Much scarier than earthquakes in my opinion.
With tornados, I remember clearly being a kid and looking for all of the house cats to take with me into the hiding place from the tornados.
And sometimes we had a lot!
Fun fact – one time our house had like 19 cats or so at once because one male cat got three female cats pregnant at basically the same time.
Roll the clock some odd months and boom!
Now we have like 19 cats or some crazy shit.
Granted, some of them died due to disease.
And I think the one of the mother cats refused to feed her kittens?
Well, I do know that happened but I’m not sure if which litter of kittens that was.
That cat’s name was “Girl Kitty” and literally gave birth to at least 30 kittens in that house over time or some shit like that.
Other kittens we had to give away for free to people in the town who would wanted kittens as they rolled in.
Suffice to say, we had a little Kitten Factory going on it seemed.
Back to the story!
So I remember anyway being a kid and quickly taking all the cats I could into this room that supposedly was safer from tornados.
And just being scared that, at any moment, some tornado was going to hit our house and literally decapitate me or some shit by ripping my head off with intense winds.
Or maybe spin me up into the air and toss me alive flying through the skies across the ocean and into North Korea or some shit…
Thankfully, no tornado ever hit our house growing up.
So, as I said, that was my exposure to natural disasters basically throughout most of my life.
Never had an experience before with them.
Though my mom used to live in California where my sister was born.
I remember stories my mom would tell me about her experience with earthquakes.
Supposedly there was one in her life where she couldn’t stand up and the earthquake kept knocking her down?
And she would say how it felt like there were ripples going through the ground.
Granted, sometimes she exaggerates stuff so I’m not sure if that is true.
Because, as I said, I began to experience earthquakes on my own when I moved down to Latin America.
And, equally so, I remember the reactions of my parents whenever the news would break that an earthquake would hit whatever area of Latin America I was in.
At first, they were always extremely concerned.
When the major earthquake on September 19th happened in Mexico City some years ago, they genuinely wanted me to come back to the US because “Mexico seems dangerous.”
They don’t really care so much if an earthquake hits.
I’ve been through enough earthquakes now down here that it would take another huge earthquake that makes Breaking News on CNN for a week to get them concerned again.
Which is nice because it used to be that even the smallest of earthquakes that were barely noticeable would scare the living hell out of them.
Now if only they can calm down whenever I tell them I get caught in a cross-fire between Mexican Cartel groups or kidnapped by the FARC.
Anyway, because earthquakes were never a thing for me growing up….
They were more noticeable to me also when I first started living down here.
So here’s my memories of some of the more noticeable earthquakes that I have experienced down here.
Earthquakes in Xela
The very first earthquake that I ever experienced in my life was when I was living at a homestay in Xela, Guatemala.
It was late into the night at maybe 4 AM more or less…
And I was woken up for whatever reason.
While I’m awake now, I noticed that some of the furniture in the room was moving back and forth ever so slightly.
It didn’t scare me at all because I didn’t know an earthquake was happening.
I was just very tired having been woken up….
So still a bit sleepy and all…
And just noticed that the furniture is moving back and forth.
“That’s weird” I thought.
Anyway, I didn’t think anything of it.
I fell back asleep only to find messages on Facebook from my parents asking me if I died a painful death from an earthquake yet.
“Negative” I said.
“God damn it” they replied.
But they were concerned obviously and gave me the news that I supposedly felt an earthquake.
“Huh. So that’s what that was” I thought.
And though I didn’t recognize that earthquake as an earthquake in the moment…
The next earthquake I felt in Xela was noticeable to me in the moment.
Maybe a few weeks later or something like that…
It was early morning and I’m in the shower.
All of a sudden, the ground starts moving below me and I realize it is an earthquake.
Then I hear something shatter outside the shower.
Some vase or something fell and broke onto the floor.
The mom of the homestay could be heard crying about the thing getting broke and being scared from the earthquake.
That was it.
No other damage reported.
Nobody in the house hurt.
An Earthquake Across South America
Later, I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
However, I took trips occasionally to other countries in the area like Brazil or Uruguay…
And happened to be in Paraguay when this next earthquake happened.
However, I didn’t feel the earthquake.
It happened in Chile.
So, oddly enough, I didn’t feel it.
It was kinda far away.
Anyway, I got messages from my family – “Matt, are you OK?! I heard they had a major earthquake where you are!”
“Uhhh….nah I’m good. Where was it at?”
“I’m not sure. In your area no?”
They then checked the news to find what they heard.
And they reported back it happened in Chile.
Well, thankfully enough, the earthquakes in Chile aren’t strong enough to fuck me up in Paraguay.
Not yet anyway….
Earthquakes in Mexico City
Finally, we have Mexico City.
Honestly, after I was done with Guatemala, I never felt any earthquakes that I can remember until I arrived to Mexico City.
Anyway, most of the earthquakes I’ve experienced in Mexico City over the last 4 years have not been very noticeable.
There was one major earthquake that was though on September 19th some few years ago or so.
That caused a lot of damage in Mexico City.
Though, in my experience, it didn’t impact me much.
To keep it short…
I was in a Starbucks.
Bought some black iced tea.
I gave the guy my money.
The second I did, the earthquake happened.
Some fat Mexican chick yelled in Spanish “EARTHQUAKE!!!” if I remember right…
We all ran out.
There was some obvious damage.
Some tall building looked like the smaller building on top of it was about to collapse or something.
And I was worried that I wasn’t going to get my black iced tea that I already paid for.
I don’t fuck around with black iced tea.
And I never did get it…
But regardless, I remember a lot of people standing outside.
Some social worker walks up much later and yells at all of us to get out of the area because it is dangerous and buildings could collapse if another minor earthquake happened.
Only a fraction of the people listened to him while everyone else stood around from what I remember.
Roll the clock a bit…
And I eventually decide to go to my apartment building.
Walking towards it in Roma Norte, I noticed a shit ton of people walking in the streets.
When I got to the apartment, I noticed a Mexican friend of mine named Angie was inside the building.
She had walked from, if I remember right, Polanco area to Roma Norte to make sure I was alright.
I was standing outside the Starbucks for a few hours by the way.
Anyway, we all had to leave the building because they had to do inspections it wasn’t damaged.
And so I crashed at Angie’s place until I could move back.
You can read more about that day here but those are the main details I remember.
Anyway, there have been a handful of other earthquakes I’ve experienced in Mexico before and after that big one…
With like two earthquake warnings I heard literally on the day and the day after I moved into the current apartment where I’m at right now.
But every earthquake I’ve ever experienced down here aside from that big one has been weak.
Even that big one wasn’t that scary.
Not too many things collapsed on the street I was on.
In my opinion, earthquakes are not at all scary when compared to tornados.
The ground shakes.
At least in my experience.
As I said, even that big earthquake that happened on September 19th wasn’t scary.
It was annoying.
Because I had to move out of my place for a week or so…
And also it took out all of the places I could eat at.
Meaning I had to get cheap low quality food at a 7-11 for that first night.
But no earthquake I’ve experienced was as scary as my mom put it when she lived in California.
Versus a tornado where you are waiting and hoping that your head doesn’t get ripped off.
Like being a character in a scary movie going down into a creepy basement and you know the villain in somewhere in the scenes ready to stick a knife up your ass.
And you know it’s going to happen!
Now that’s scary as fuck.
Granted, I might associate more fear to tornados because that’s what I grew up with as a kid.
When the last earthquake warning happened like two months ago in the early morning…
I literally walked outside with 40 pesos in hand to go buy a torta while expecting some ground to shake.
Then I’d have to dance back and forth as I make my way to the torta…
Maybe with some song like this below here that I can move my body to as I avoid the collapsing concrete falling from the sky and the moving ground.
Quiero sentir el dolor de muerte
Por tu suave temblor!
Mátame otra vez!!!
Shit, I could dance to that.
Thankfully, no actual earthquake happened that day so maybe the warning system was tripping or something.
The only time though that earthquakes have ever been scary enough to me is when in this story here…
Where I was inside the apartment of some girlfriend’s place a few years ago…
And her door to the apartment had some weird lock system that would never fucking open with the keys.
So there I was woken up by this earthquake alarm…
Couldn’t open the door.
Typical Mexico – can’t even make a proper fucking door.
And I accepted my fate.
But the earthquake never happened and so any fear that the building I was in would collapse was unfounded.
Anyway, the only other things that are noticeable when these earthquakes happen…
In the minute before an earthquake happens…
When the earthquake alarm is going off…
You are waiting outside in the streets of Mexico City…
And you see all of the women outside crying their asses off before the earthquake even happens!
It’s always the women crying like little bitches, isn’t it?
And that ain’t sexist – it’s true!
I remember one moment like that perfectly where I was in a Starbucks on the Reforma Avenue in Mexico City some years ago…
The earthquake alarm goes off.
And we are all waiting outside for this earthquake to happen.
With women as far as the eye can see of all ages crying and holding each other.
“No quiero morir!!!!” they’d cry.
“Tengo miedo!!!” they’d cry.
Might as well cry out “I’m a weakling!!!”
Grow some balls ladies.
Eat some raw meat.
Take your cold showers.
Lift heavy weights.
High T energy.
And you won’t be worried about an earthquake.
I remember seeing everyone crying and worried…
And thinking “pathetic wimplings.”
Now, in all seriousness, I wasn’t that cruel and inconsiderate.
But it does happen – seeing a bunch of women crying outside before the earthquake hits.
And that one didn’t even hit!
It was a false alarm or something.
We never felt anything.
All that crying for nothing.
Now, on a more serious topic…
The final thing that is noticeable when one of these earthquakes happen is the subsequent corruption.
And how the funds generated to help the victims don’t always arrive to their intended use…
Something I noticed after the September 19th earthquake in particular.
Where’d that money go, jack?
Anyway, that’s all I got to say under my final thoughts on the topic.
Earthquakes? Not too bad.
Could be worse…
Could be a tornado.
Leave a comment below anyhow on your thoughts about the topic.
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Thanks for reading.