I have not written or blogged about the earthquake on Sunday, May 20, 2012 until now. This was a terrifying experience for me that will stay with me forever. During the earthquake I was with a non-speaking English family. When the first earthquake occurred, I was half asleep and thought it was a train right beside my Italian friend, Camilla’s apartment. ( We were actually at her parents house right outside of Bologna) It was then that I was startled awake by Camilla who was in severe panic and got me out of bed. All the family rushed into the common room until the earthquake ended. Camilla started having a panic attack and was gasping for air. I was comforting her still not knowing really what was going wrong. She was unable to translate for me because she was so shocked. I sat calmly with her family on the couch as her mother wrapped a blanket around me. I felt so comforted by her family and was touched by their attempts to keep me feeling safe. We then experienced the first aftershock of the earthquake and we sat silently looking at each other watching everything rattle. It was not as bad as the first earthquake so we were not as frighten but we were still very shaken. We turned on the TV to watch the news to see where the earthquake started and what kind of damage had been done. I feel lucky to have been in Ferrara the day before the earthquake and got a really good picture of the castle before the severe damage was done from the earthquake. Camilla said she felt the first earthquake at 1:00 which lead up to the biggest one at 4: 00. We waited an hour after the first aftershock and went to bed to then experience another aftershock. This made me very nervous and I was unable to fall asleep again. My heart was racing all night but I kept as still as I could incase there was another big earthquake. I still felt the ground shaking and rocking back and forth. I had messaged everyone in my Study Abroad and found out everyone was sleeping and safe. Although I was scared this made me feel at peace knowing all my friends were safe.
We were very scared the next day but we carried on with our plans. Camilla and I went to her Catholic Church to find everyone talking about the earthquake and their reactions. Later Camilla’s mother, Camilla, and I went to Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet, which was absolutely beautiful. We had an amazing day because her mother went to school in Verona and she took us to the secret places and the museums. Camilla’s Dad called us while we were in Verona to tell us there was another aftershock. He sounded very nervous and scared but we still went on with our day and tried to think positive. As we were leaving her parents house to get to Bologna, Camilla was crying because she was scared to go back to her home where it was unsafe. We found out the police came to Camilla’s apartment to tell them it was unsafe and she had nowhere to go close to Bologna.
It didn’t hit me how scared I was until we got to the town of Bologna where we found rescue squads and ambulances everywhere. My train was delayed 70 plus minutes, so I decided to get on the quickest train to Milan which was leaving without a delay. Even though it took me 3 hours to get home I was happy to get out of the shaking city of Bologna. When I arrived back to Milan my friends, Morgan, Ashley, Aubrey, Hannah, and Laura were at the metro to greet me with a huge welcoming. This was the first time I actually broke down. We walked back together in the rain as they held me and talked about my experiences of that weekend. I cannot begin to say how much I treasure my friends who had my back when I made it home.