I was up late last night, so when my wife tried to wake me up at 8:00 am this morning, I brushed her off and went back to bed. Dreamland felt so good.
All of a sudden, I woke up to the subtle motion of a mild earthquake. I was ready to go back to sleep, as I have felt mild tremors before. They are quite common in Taiwan. But this one was different. The motion was up and down, instead of the usual sideways motion. And the intensity kept increasing, until I heard screaming voices outside and a few things falling to the floor. I got out of bed and jumped in front of my door to the 2nd floor balcony to look outside and to decide my next move.
Many of the neighbors were already congregated outside. Next door, where men were on scaffolds renovating a 3-story home, work ceased. After about 40 seconds of strong up-and-down shaking, followed by mild sideways motion, things got quiet. I ran downstairs in my t-shirt and shorts, and walked outside to join the neighbors. I waited for any immediate aftershocks, and there were none. Some neighbors were holding babies or small kids. Some were holding pets. I was the only one who had my sleeping clothes on.
I quickly got online and read about a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hitting southern Taiwan near Taitung. Taiwan gets 3 earthquakes a year that measure over 6.0 on the Richter scale. We probably received about 2.8, but it was the most intense I have felt since moving here last May.
My fatherly instincts and commitments as an amateur reporter took over, and I drove around Sigang in my motor scooter armed with my camera. I checked on Xander and Jaden at the daycare. All was fine there. The head lady said my baby was crying until the earthquake hit, and then he finally stopped crying. I visited my mother-in-law’s house. She was fine. I visited Johan’s elementary school, and all seemed normal there as well. Driving through the village, nothing seemed out of order. Everyone was going about their business. The outdoor day market was busy with shoppers. No buildings seemed damaged from the outside.
Everything seemed normal this morning in Sigang except for my wake up call.