"You're a white man" (with privileges)

that was one friend's advice after a week of me trying to get a handle on who, what and why i am in this other home i live in??

the one where an earthquake is rare and our inhabitants may have the money to survive a disaster of some magnitude but the trauma could be a little more difficult to comprehend.

whilst being so close to the epicentre of 2 of the 3 significant earthquakes in Mexico in the last month has left me a little unhinged and unable to process the extreme differences in my life in australia to the life i left behind last week, the one where all my mexican families and friends are still deep in the process of assimilating alongside each other whilst being bombarded with the absolute truth of it all.

..............i got on a plane and flew 13,000+ klms in a matter of 24 hours & everything changed, i first felt the difference when i landed in LAX.

there can be no comparison here in "white bread" Australia, i know a few Mexicans here & in MEX who have vivid memories of the immense disaster of the 1985 Earthquake that memory can never be erased.

another piece of helpful advise i had this week was that i may just be feeling some guilt and trauma as i was fortunate enough to leave, this was the thing that i needed to jolt me to tears for the "reality in my memory" something that still brings tears to my eyes as i write and the hurt i feel knowing that i will need at least 3 months to earn enough money to begin to pay off the money i have just spent in MEX and that feels like a year in my mind.

but the shake of the washing machine as it moved my bed this morning with its spin cycle, brought the fear up my throat again before my mind had time to recognise I'm in australia and "things like that dont happen here"

being jolted out of bed at 12.10am in Chiapas on the 7th of September because the bed was heaving and my deep sleep alerted me that i cannot feel in dreams and the screaming was actual, i fumbled in the dark for clothes, a bag, the door, all the while seeing lightening thru the curtains and the shaking that made me act senselessly and dare to run down two flights of stairs to the people who were yelling for me by this time on the street of San Christobal, shaking and white with fear and cold i stood alongside my fellow campers waiting for another shake, another reason to stay in the street partially dressed alongside strangers now mixing with party revellers who had a different opinion to yours of what actually happened.

in what seemed like minutes i was being asked my a dear friend in australia was i ok? its was 1pm in the afternoon there and she was fretting and had been told the news by her family, a link to the other world i live in (someone who has knowledge of 1985) once the power was back on we were able to communicate, but most of us stood in the street for two hours unable to assess what mother nature had in store for us next.

i was moved to a 1st floor room and stayed awake listening to the earthquake sirens until daylight, a friend in guatemala predicted a further larger quake and for a few days i took to riding on long haul busses and seeking destinations that were far far away from big cities, i watched and stood near doorways and exits for the days that followed always assessing my quickest exit.

all had become normal again and my friends prediction was over a week old now as i prepared for the 24 hour trip back to aus.

but as i showered the floors and walls began to move agin this time so much more significantly in my "ready for earthquakes brain" i ran wet & naked down stairs to my door as i fumbled with the key all the time trying to shut out the incredible visions and sounds around me, i grabbed a skirt and pulled it over my head as i ran to my gate without my key and the knowledge that i was as far as i was able to go, assessing how much space i had between the gate pillars and the building if they were to fall, my friends shouting to me "stay there" "wait" it felt like hours as i watched their family assemble out front of their home, one by one they carried children with stark faces and anticipation, i watched as their 3 story home swayed and lurched and the lamps from the ceilings on the patio spun as i do on the dance floor.

within minutes my friend is on a bike racing to rescue her 6 year old grandson from school, the chaos on the streets was only apparent to me as i decide with no reason that since its now half an hour since my due departure time for the airport that i must continue with my plans and go, i grab my bags, passport and say goodbye to my mexican family who are all crying and with a teenager by my side attempt to hail a cab, theres no power so uber is out of the question and the scenes on the streets i am familiar with are full of stunned crying people and cars going so fast that the people driving them look like their faces are stretched by velocity (fear) there is a madness and i get caught up in it, i stand in the middle of a 12 lane intersection hailing cabs as cars, busses & trucks weave around me after 40 mins i convince a woman and a child that i can drive with them to their destination and then ill take the driver to my flat collect my bags and proceed to the airport.

time is going slowly in the chaos and i dont ever think that the airport may be closed till we get closer and there are people walking with luggage and uniforms 5 thick on the pavements around the airport, i get worried when i see the customs controllers on the street, and begin to realise i may not be going anywhere.

the extra day gave me a chance to get caught up in the truth of the reality i had just experienced it allowed me time to comprehend the enormity of such an earthquake and the devastation it caused to those around me.

during the time that i was in Mexico following the 2 quakes i know that thru the small amount of media that i allow myself to be subjected to that things are atrocious in many places in mexico now, in the coming weeks when the dust begins to be cleared from my mind & soul and i regain some kind of normality i will come to comprehend where i wish to focus my assistance and whom i will be asking you to support with me after due assessment. 

and as i always as i am grateful for the journey, the ride that is my life and to once again survive another event in the history of our world, unscathed (i think!)

without your support i would have nothing xxxxxxx

****and a special mention to the bikies at the end of our street in Mexico who i gave cartons of UHT milk to deliver and the smiling young man i met at the glorietta who took my hand as i walked away from giving any clean blankets and sheets i had too get delivered to the victims, who said as he stood with a helmet on bucket and pick in hand "we are fighters snra we survived the 1985 quake" xxxx

Zara Elwood