Monday, October 8, 2012

Between Tsunamis and Other Disasters

Today I stumbled upon a video on YouTube about the tsunami in Asia in 2004. It moved me deeply and I was nearly crying. It was put together with material that survivors filmed during the tsunami. It also contained interviews with survivors. When the tsunami happened in 2004 I was visiting two old friends in Sweden and we were about to go out celebrating. We were having a drink at my friends house and we were joking around, since we hadn't seen each other for some time. My friends mum was watching the news on TV and that’s when we saw it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had to sit down. We watched the news for a while, but we still went out and had a nice night. The events were happening so far away from cold and snowy Sweden and it was hard to relate. It was hard to believe. It felt very unreal, like it had been a film.

Here's the first part of Tsunami - Caught On Camera.


 Seeing the video got me thinking though. It seems that when these kind of horrible things happen, it must shake you to the core, even though you don’t notice it at the time, because still after years and years you can remember exactly where you were, exactly what you were doing and who you were with, when you heard about it.

I can still clearly remember where I was when I heard that Princess Diana died. It was the 1st of October 1997 and I was 11 years old. I was visiting my friend and we were playing in the living room. Her mum was cooking pasta and we were always going into the kitchen to steal half-raw spaghetti from the pot. That’s when my friend told me that Di had been killed in an accident. First I thought she was joking, but she insisted. Then she showed me an article in the evening news paper, and I had no choice but believe. I was shocked.

There is also another thing that has happened during my lifetime, which has had devastating consequences. It was the morning of September 11th 2001 and I was at school. I was 15 years old. We had our first break and we were watching TV in the hallway. All of a sudden the show was interrupted by an additional news broadcast. They were showing footage of an airplane flying into a tower and soon afterward another plane flying into another tower. A while after that the towers collapsed. That was the only thing people were talking about at school that day. Hell, I think that is the only thing the whole world talked about that day.
Nevertheless it is these kinds of things that stick with you no matter what.

Here in Finland we are leading a fairly sheltered life. We are not in a risk zone for disasters. We won’t have any earthquakes, tsunamis, erupting volcanoes or hurricanes. At least it is very unlikely. We are not considered a possible target for terrorists (except school murderers or men like Breivik). Who wants to attack Santa’s home anyways? Certainly our government has faced criticism from south European countries for not wanting to help them without any securities, but nobody really sees Finland as a political threat.

What I’m saying is that I feel very safe living in Finland. When I was watching that video today about the tsunami, I started thinking about my travels. My traveling has increased tremendously in the last decade and it isn’t unlikely for me to be at one of those places when something like the tsunami or 9/11 happens. After all, I don’t plan to travel less. I will rather be traveling more. It’s a scary thought altogether. What if a tsunami happens, when I’m in Thailand? What if I will be in the middle of a terrorist attack? For a minute there I almost said to myself: “I never want to travel again!” Then I got back to my senses and realized that I could just as well be killed by an icicle just walking out of my front door.

What I mean is that I can’t start being scared of things that might happen, because I would miss out on living my life and experiencing new things. Tell you the truth; I would rather die in a tsunami in Thailand while snorkeling, than being too scared to do things that I love. I will go when it is my time, but I will go with a lot of amazing experiences. 

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the tsunami in Asia, or some other disaster?

Do you have any fears that need to be conquered?

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