The Haitian earthquake is all too reminiscent of the 2004 tsunami in Asia which devastated some areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand, and took over 230,000 lives. It's so hard to wrap my mind around natural disasters of this magnitude, and I just cannot comprehend the high death tolls associated with them. I hope to never, ever experience anything remotely close to an earthquake of this scale. The one I experienced last year in California is nothing compared to these, but it was enough for me. And the tsunami - I was too close for comfort for that too. We happened to be in Bangkok at the time, about 600 miles from Phuket (which was the hardest hit area of Thailand), so we were safe. I decided to dig up my old xanga blog post about our experience while there, and re-post parts of it here:
December 26, Monks and Tsunami. Quite an interesting day. It started out with us going to some kind of monk ceremony thing for Burin's nephew at a temple. He was beginning the process of becoming a monk for two weeks - a process I like to call "monkamorphosis." After this, we went back to the house where there was a separate monk event that was to take place. Nine monks arrived in a monkmobile, and they came in and did all the chanting and so forth, for the purpose of 'blessing the house.' Traditionally, Thai people, when they move into a new house (this was a new house), hold a ceremony where monks come in and bless the house, and it's all basically for good luck really. There were lots of family and family friends there that day, so the TV was turned off. But later in the afternoon, when we finally did turn it on, we learned of the earthquake/tsunami that had happened about 10:00 that morning, that took thousands upon thousands of lives all over Southeast Asia, including some on the island of Phuket (Thailand). So needless to say, our parents, friends, and almost anyone I ever knew freaked out and were worried about us. Luckily, we were about 600 miles away from where it all happened. What's scary is that we were actually planning to go to that island at some point while we were there. Thank God we hadn't gone yet, and for the lucky-monk-party. I even got holy water sprinkled on me that day by the head monk, and got a tiny brass good-luck elephant (elephants are a national symbol for Thailand, and symbolize good luck). Was it meant to be?
December 30, Burin Goes to Phuket. Yesterday on the news it was announced that the hospitals in Phuket needed volunteer doctors and interpreters, so Burin did the heroic thing and signed up to go, since he can do both and he is exactly what they needed. So he left early this morning to go, and he even got to take a military plane to Phuket so he thinks he's a bigshot now. :) I think Sean and I would have liked to have gone to help out, but unfortunately we had a flight out the next day to come home, and we couldn't really be guaranteed that we'd be back in time, so it was a little too risky for us to go, so we stayed behind. . .
December 31, Mississippi - here we come! ...we went to the airport to pick Burin up around 6pm ... as we were waiting, it was kinda sad because we saw a couple of people who had just gotten off a flight whose heads and arms were all bandaged up.. apparently, they were survivors of the tsunami...
It turns out that the hospital Burin went to already had enough doctors and things were pretty much under control by then, which is why he was there for less than two whole days (notice he didn't go until 4 days after the tsunami).
My heart goes out to all the survivors and victims of the earthquake in Haiti, to their family and friends. I hope they can soon find peace and comfort.