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Surviving the disaster
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by Yi Bing, Chengdu, Sichuan Province (http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog 4924bea101009ij4.html) at 07:50:23, May 14, 2008

May 12, 2008, a day that will never be forgotten.

I don't usually take an afternoon nap, but on May 12 I did because I had been up very early in the morning to go jogging. About 2 PM I received a message from my piano teacher Mr. Chang. He asked me to go for a lesson in the piano room before 3 PM. I was getting out of my top bunk to go to the lesson when suddenly the ground began to shake. For a second my roommates and I were confused, then one thought possessed us all – run for your life!

The shaking of the building was so strong that we couldn't move normally. It was like running on a chain bridge that was being shaken to and fro.

Everyone was running from the building, screaming in terror. Debris was falling and the bridge connecting the second floor of two dormitories seemed to collapse. Fortunately, we all got out and gathered on an open lawn. The ground was still shaking and everybody's face was white. We were completely unprepared for the disaster. Many students had no coat, some of them were even without shoes. Many of the girls were scared and couldn't stop crying, though at that moment I was calm. But thinking back on it now fills me with terror.

I feel so sad as I hear of the rising death toll. I am so grateful that Mr. Chang sent me the message that woke me before the earthquake struck, or I might not have escaped so quickly; I'm also lucky that I live on the first floor. The boys who live on the sixth floor said they thought they had no hope.

Unfortunately, some teachers and students were injured. One of my classmates has a multiple fracture. But compared with epicenter in Wenchuan, we can count ourselves lucky.

I have had many kind messages from friends and classmates in my hometown. It touches my heart to receive similar concern here. Thanks to all of you! I am fine now and waiting at the airport for a flight to take me home. Shuangliu Airport is busier than a coach station. Most flights have been delayed due to the bad weather. I have not slept for two nights, and have only just got a free place to use the internet.

Postscript: This is the first time I will have been on an airplane. It feels new and I'm nervous. I always thought I would take my first plane trip along with my lover and be full of courage. Instead, the saddest thing is that the first time I will fly home is to escape from this tragedy. I hope I will soon be safe by my mother's side.

(China.org.cn translated by Wu Huanshu, May 16, 2008)

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