It comes in waves. For about an hour I will be fine. Jubilant, even. In many ways, this week, has been incredible. I got accepted into one of the best Spanish programs in the country. We're talking like Top 3. I also met one of my most favorite authors, Ariel Dorfman. And I'm so thankful for all of these things.
But the morning after I met Professor Dorfman (he is going to be my professor, now) I woke up to chilling news of a terrible earthquake in Oscar's home country, Chile. At first the death toll seemed relatively under control. 100 people. Short phone calls to my husband confirmed that his family was okay. Then, as I departed my interview in North Carolina, and arrived for my layover in Memphis I got my first glimpse of CNN, showing horrifying photos of Concepción, talking of Tsunamis, and then showing footage from Barrio Brazil where parts of buildings collapsed onto the group.
I called my husband, "Holy shit."
"Yeah, I didn't think you realized how bad it really was."
I nearly dropped the phone in Memphis and started bawling. The people who gathered around me probably thought I was insane. When the pictures of Barrio Brazil--streets I could name--flashed on the screen, it was just too much.
I have been glued to the news since I arrived home in Austin. Monday and Tuesday I was in a daze. I couldn't help it, but I was literally offended with people who didn't seem to realize what was going on. If anyone talked to me about anything else
I just couldn't understand. Seeing people's Facebook updates about seemingly trivial things made me feel so hurt. I can't explain it. My world stopped, and everyone else's kept going.
Today and yesterday, I'm doing better, but it comes in waves. For an hour I'll be fine, but then for another hour I literally cannot get out of bed because I'm so sick over what's happening. I am sorry to sound like a drama queen, considering I'm not even there, but I honestly feel like my heart has been ripped apart. For as much as it's a love-hate relationship, I love Chile with all my heart and it's so hard to see my husband's country going through this.
So, the only thing we can do at this point is do our best to do our part. In addition to donations, we've helping organize a huge benefit this Saturday here in Austin. I'm making 50 empanadas, Oscar's playing in a band, and we're going to help set up and clean up. So far 160 people have RSVPed as confirmed on Facebook, and even if half of those show up I will be thrilled.
I realized I've been super hypersensitive about the topic, but some people's comments have really upset me. Especially when they say, "Oh, Chile isn't a third world country, at least it's not like Haiti." I'm also astounded by people who I thought were my good friends who didn't even as much as how Oscar was doing or if his family and our all friends were safe.
I know we live in an individualistic society, and that like usual my expectations are too high. But it's making me seriously question our life here in the States and whether or not it's really where we're going to be the most happy. How can people just forget about their neighbors?
In any case, I am so thankful that everyone I know in Chile is safe. I am so thankful that we are here, with a roof over our heads. And I'm thankful for all the people who have expressed their support. I send my love and support to all of you.