At lunch, in a restaurant, a dishwasher explained how he’d just shoved a bin of trastes (dishes) into the suds when the alarms sounded warning people to stop anything they were doing and head into the streets, their gardens, outside into the day, away from their buildings: homes, schools, offices which could crumble over them. He stayed inside and finished the load of dishes.

How we reacted varied depending on where we are from. The Japanese woman in my class described feeling normal despite the rolling. We Californians, too, were mostly unmoved. However, for many, the Texan, the man from Colorado, a student from New Mexico, this was a surprising first.

Flor’s family called to see if she was safe and to let her know they were ok. She tried to return their call, but all of the lines were busy.

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