Nepal Earthquake: Part 4 — Some Things I Learned and Final Words

in four parts:

since i tried to live tweet my weekend, i’m going to expand on those and fill in some of the blanks. my heart goes out to the country of Nepal and its people — this tragedy affected them in ways i cannot even imagine. i’m one of the fortunate ones.

some thoughts

last night as i laid in bed, exhausted, i started crying. and i couldn’t stop. i can’t put my finger on exactly why, but i guess it was that i could finally decompress and process what was going on. i cried and cried, finally i fell asleep.

when i woke up, i discovered my shoulders and neck were really sore — as the day progressed, my entire body has started to ache. i don’t know if i’m getting sick or if it’s just the adrenaline wearing off. maybe both? (i also seem to have contracted a case of Delhi belly, but oh well!)

i’m definitely still processing everything going on — when i was there in Kathmandu, it was moment-by-moment thinking. what was i going to do next. would i sleep? would i eat? no time for emotion. and now that i’ve been extracted from the situation, so many thoughts are running through my head. there’s definitely some mild PTSD, i think, and for sure survivor guilt. why was i crying? i didn’t deserve the right to cry. i have a bed and real food and am going home. so many others have lost loved ones, don’t have a sheltered place to sleep, don’t have anything to eat. i have a job still, i will continue to have income. i don’t have to rebuild. i have infrastructure that works. i have reliable forms of communication.

it will take me a while. i’ve stopped crying, at least, so i think that’s a good sign?

some things i learned about being in a situation like this

stream of consciousness:

  • don’t be a princess. this is twofold:
    • you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone, but you will make it because you have to.
    • on the other hand, you need to try to get what you want. a flight out, some water, some food. don’t be shy. take a stand when you need to. again, maybe outside your comfort zone.
  • the value of having a local SIM card for communication (when it works)
  • external battery packs — i have two which let me keep using my phone.
  • pack your medicine in your carry-on! this is Traveling 101, but alas, my bag is not with me here in Abu Dhabi so i have no painkillers, no daily meds that i normally take.
  • eat early, eat often. you often don’t know where your next meal will come from.
  • STAY HYDRATED. guard your bottle of water. you may need to share it, but keep carrying one, keep drinking.
  • ATMs might not be working — always carry some spare cash; you never know when you’ll need it.
  • charge your devices when you can. when the power is out, generators are great but they can be unreliable and run out of gas.
  • send a message to loved ones as soon as you can. beg and borrow for a form of communication from someone who has one.
  • get in touch with your local embassy. i came to find out that the US Embassy had a bacon and eggs breakfast yesterday morning, which i missed out on! 😀 (but i did call them and left a message saying i was OK and how to get hold of me if needed.) be sure to register with STEP if you’re a US citizen but it doesn’t hurt to keep them updated as your situation may change.
  • seriously, tea.
  • you cannot do it alone. make friends. you are in a shared situation likely none of you are familiar with. you’ll get through it together.
  • it’s ok to be emotional. let it out, decompress.
  • you will make it through. you are luckier than many locals and you have a support system (your government) that hopefully will assist you if you need it.

OOPS forgot to mention:

  • unless you have a super valid reason you need to stick around, get out. GET. OUT. it will likely get worse before it gets any better, and you can’t waste any time in securing a seat out which will be at a premium. the embassy can help if you really need assistance. also, thanks to my friend @wintersweet, i was reminded that you do not need to continue to be a strain on local resources. seriously speaking, your hardboiled egg can go to someone who will need it down the line.

14 Comments on "Nepal Earthquake: Part 4 — Some Things I Learned and Final Words"

  1. Thanks for the detailed writeup, I appreciate your effort to capture the moment.

  2. So relieved that you are okay. When I heard about the quake, I thought about you because I remembered you were planning a trip to Nepal, but then dismissed it thinking that I was mistaken.

    Thank you for the insights on your ordeal. I am in tears just reading your series. Stay safe my friend.

  3. I read the entire thing at work right now, lol.. I kinda felt like I was there with ya.. good post.. and glad you were one of the lucky ones!

  4. this last post brought me right back to 9/11 – was nearby, saw the towers on fire, saw them fall…. I was then part of the walking parade of zombies leaving lower manhattan, crying for days …. a lot of what you are experiencing. PTSD is a bitch – don’t ignore it.

    and, for the millionth time – I”M so glad you’re ok.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I do think that writing helps one to process and doing it so close to the actual events keeps it very real. Gotta love those local SIM cards!

  6. Wow, great entries. It is kind of surprising and interesting to see on a travel-points blog. I’m glad you’re out of there safely and that you were in the right place at the right time to be out of danger and to meet the others who helped you!

  7. Thanks for the well written report, and some good tips for coping with the unexpected. One lesson I learnt from the Christchurch earthquake 4 years ago was not to assume you could enter your accommodation/home/office/etc after a quake – in many cases it was only when buildings were being demolished months later that authorities retrieved any belongings.

  8. Great write-up. Glad you made it home and are okay!!!

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