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We’ve had earthquakes here in Santiago before and a few when we lived in Lahore but nothing, absolutely nothing, like the one we had last night at 3:30 in the morning.

Usually, the earthquakes we get cause a little bounce or side-to-side shake that not everyone feels.  They last for a couple of seconds.  I’ve seen the walls in my classroom sway back and forth a little.  Then they’re over.  No adrenaline, no rush, no heart beating hard in your chest.

Last night, the earthquake must have lasted more than 1 minute.  The whole house started to bounce and rock – not sway.  I ran and grabbed Kirsi, waking her up, as we heard a crash downstairs.  The intensity increased.  Up and down, back and forth…we actually bounced as we walked.  Pictures fell from the wall.

I gave Kirsi to Dana who stood in the doorway while I grabbed Aidan.  We ran downstairs and directly outside to a cloudless sky and a bright full moon.  Car and house alarms were going off and dogs were barking.  Power was cut.  Windows rattled.  The lamps on our bedside tables fell off.

When we returned inside, the living room ceiling light was still swaying a good foot to either side.  At the peak, it probably came close to hitting the ceiling.  We went to our kitchen to our find our spice rack toppled over and spices on the floor.  You could smell the curry.  The door that leads from the kitchen to the laundry room was still vibrating in its frame.

It’s 3:58 as I type this and we’re still experiencing aftershocks.

4:01- another aftershock but Aidan doesn’t feel it, he’s back asleep.  I doubt he felt the big one.  Kirsi is still wondering what the heck is going on.

4:05 – windows rattling again.

4:20 – our neighbors came by to ask how everyone was.  They recommended that we fill our bathtubs full of water as we may be without for a while.

4:38 Pascuala phones to check on us.  She says that everything in her house is broken but that she’s alive.  “That’s Chile,” she says.

8:07 Just woke up and the rest of the family is still sleeping.  Had another 4 or 5 aftershocks that woke me up since the big 3:30 one.  On one aftershock, the bed started to shake head to foot about 7 or 8 times, then it bounced me up once a little, and then shook from side to side.

Our friend Marie called from the hotel where her husband works.  Apparently the center got hit bad.  Some of her friends had refrigerators that tipped over.  The hotel has cracks in the wall and some doors won’t open or close.

After we woke up and went downstairs, we found that our fruit stand had hit the floor.  Kirsi and Aidan picked up all the bananas and potatoes.  Our ceiling lamp was just hanging by the electrical chord.  A lamp in Aidan’s room fell and broke.

I also noticed that there was water in our laundry room and that our backyard patio had been covered by water.  We couldn’t figure it out until we realized that the swimming pool was a good 6 inches lower.  The earthquake must’ve shaken the water out of the pool.

Overall, big earthquake but we were very fortunate that we were OK and that there was only some slight damage.  I’m sure that others had it worse.

1:10 - Internet is back on so now we're getting in touch with everyone and finding out what else is going on.

Thanks for all the emails!

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