Last Friday morning I should have been helping out with something at Joshua’s school but instead I was stuck at home with Eden who had a sickness bug.  At precisely 11.15am, I was sitting at the computer when I felt a weird swaying, as if I was having a dizzy spell or something.  It was the same feeling you can get after you’ve been on a boat and even when you’re back on dry land you can still feel the sway.

A bit freaked out I looked around me and the first thing I noticed was that the keys dangling from the lock in our balcony door were swaying rather dramatically and the clothes on the washing line were also swaying.  I lept up, really not sure what to do but suddenly all too aware that this was not a dizzy spell.  My helper burst out of her room with a frightened look on her face so I knew she’d felt it too.  I started to get a bit scared, not helped by her cries of, “Earthquake, earthquake, never in Hong Kong, I’m so frightened.”  Being from the Philippines, she and her family have seen the effects of earthquakes too many times so I don’t blame her for being scared but someone had to think clearly here!  I guess that had to be me.

The first thing I did was look out to sea, somehow thinking that if something major was about to happen, wouldn’t the sea be all wild and crazy?  It was perfectly calm.  I then went to a window to look down at the street and everything seemed to be happening as normal.  People were walking their dogs, cars were driving down the street and there were certainly no signs of chaos.

Starting to calm down a bit, I still wasn’t sure if maybe we should be evacuating the building in case something further happened.  We live 9 floors up.  But no alarms had been raised or anything so I called Dan who was conveniently in Beijing.  He didn’t answer but texted quickly to say he was in a meeting and would call later.  My response?  “OK – I might be dead though.”  And I gave him a brief detail of what happened.  There wasn’t much help he could give really and I was having all sorts of horrible visions of what could be about to happen.  If Eden hadn’t been sick, she would have been at nursery, I would have been at school and we wouldn’t be there.

There’s a Facebook group I belong to called ‘Hong Kong Moms’ which is a minefield of handy hints, tips, things to buy, constant questions asked and opinions given.  I decided to post something on there to see if anyone else had felt anything.  As soon as I opened up the page I saw that there were already loads of posts on there from people who had felt it too!  No one seemed to be panicking though and it was so weird to see how far away people had felt it.

I kept an eye on the Hong Kong Observatory website too for further details and it seemed that the epicentre had been about 180km away somewhere in China.  Still too close for me though.

In the newspaper the next day there was even an article about it (see below).  By this time Dan was back from Beijing and finally seemed to believe how scary it must have been.  The quake had a magnitude of 4.8.  This registered about a 3 in Hong Kong which I don’t think is that big but I really don’t need to experience anything else to compare it to, thank you very much, one is enough for me.  In fact it’s one too many.

South China Morning Post 23/2

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