It’s tough for me to take trips because I don’t have a good childcare system in place, especially for travel taking me away overnight. So when Beth arrived for her last visit at the end of March, I left the next day for a trip to Kuching, in Malaysia. The kids could have her all to themselves, while I got a needed trip in.
I had been back less than a week when early in the morning I woke up. Groggy, I had visions of Beth, for some odd reason, wriggling her leg rapidly so that the bed shook. Just then she rolled over. “Why are you shaking the bed?” I said accusingly. She, also in a sleep haze, snapped back, “You’re shaking the bed.”
Slowly it dawned on us – our first earthquake.
A shallow quake had struck less than 200 miles off the southwest coast of Java, the island upon which we are staying. Its power was less than 7.0 on the open-ended Richter scale, but friends said dishes fell in some households around Bandung.
Other quakes have hit the region and caused much greater damage. In 2006, a 6.2 earthquake struck south of Java, but it was powerful enough to severely cripple the town of Yogyakarta as well as damage a world heritage site located outside that town. Damage was still quite visible at Prambanan, a Hindu temple, when I visited three years later.
When we first moved here I had hoped to experience an earthquake, minor enough not to hurt anyone but big enough to really feel it. But this quake came less than a month after the devastating quake that hit Japan, so suddenly that wish seemed rather petty and selfish.
In the end the region survived with little damage and no deaths, both a blessing. And we had finally gone through our first earthquake.
The kids, of course, never felt a thing. They slept soundly all night.
(An interesting side-note to the article attached to this posting. While the article is dated Sunday, April 3rd, it speaks of a quake hitting early Monday morning, which was April 4th. It’s the vagaries of time zones – while the quake did occur on Monday morning here, it was Sunday afternoon wherever that particular website was based, giving an odd appearance of some level of television clairvoyance.)