Skip to main content


Just before 7pm on Tuesday I got the email that everyone dreams of getting from their spouse who's abroad.

Think there was just an earthquake here.

What? First of all, when you're advising your wife of a life threatening situation in which you currently find yourself it is customary to end said advisory with "I love you." Or really anything in that vein. Not my fella. He's more the facts guy.

I, naturally, immediately conjure up images of the sky scraper he's in swaying violently and the reclaimed land of Boston's financial district liquifying and the building sinking into the Atlantic. Then I read the message one more time and catch the all important word: think. Right, well, if he only thinks it's an earthquake and has the email access to notify me, it's unlikely he's currently swimming for the newly defined Massachusetts shoreline.

It reminded me of my first earthquake. I was living in Peru at the time with a lovely family and was upstairs talking to my then boyfriend (now husband) on the phone. Suddenly, there was a low roaring sound, unlike any sound I've heard. It explains stories of angry gods or beasts under the ground causing them. The rumbling roar rises from the ground until it is all encompassing and penetrates to the very fiber of your body. Meanwhile, all around me everything was shaking, the two story house was swaying and my Peruvian 'grandmother' was shouting up to me in a panicked screech, "Terremoto! Terremoto! Terremoto!!!" Yep, got it, earthquake. My poor fella on the phone, though, got a bit of a shock when I told him why there was shouting on my end. Think he would have learned his lesson. Maybe the email was just his version of payback.

Back in Boston, it all came out that there was in fact an earthquake. The epicenter of the 5.8 on the Richter Scale quake was down in Virginia, just over 500 miles away. Fortunately, there don't seem to be any injuries or major damage (even to the nuclear power plants in the area).

Very fortunate as they're all now battening down the hatchets in preparation for Hurricane Irene who is barreling up the east coast of the US, having already wreaked havoc down in the Caribbean. Quite the week if you happen to live in that corner of the world.

Meanwhile some Londoners in Notting Hill are battening down the hatches from something else that comes from the Caribbean: Carnival! Some people are very concerned that this weekend's two day party and celebration of Caribbean culture will provide an opportunity for more rioting. The Met is putting 10,000 officers on the streets where the party will be and an additional 4,000 throughout the rest of the city. I say, enjoy the jerk chicken and take it as it comes!

On the plus side, you can all now understand "earthquake" in another language.