Life has strangely gotten back to normal for most of the population of Santiago. How quickly the people have rebounded from such a mega earthquake! The world really does keep on turning, even when you think it will stop.
When Monday morning came, my boyfriend tells me he was the only one in casual clothes. Everyone had arrived on time, dressed like normal -- Suits and ties for the management, dress shirts and blouses for the employees. The only evidence that it was not a normal day were the cracks on the floor and the toppled office supplies.
Pollo tells me that at least 4 guys he knows, instead of running to a doorframe, ran to their plasma TVs. So even among the somber faces, humor is starting to return.
I spent last night at the viejas' sixth floor apartment--the first night where none of us felt aftershocks. They served porotos--a bean and noodle dish I love. Perhaps it was a bribe to get me to spend the night, but I was more than happy to be among people I love. Their apartment is back to normal, with the addition of a few more cracks along the walls...and still without electricity.
As I went shopping for food yesterday--to several corner markets--I realized what an important role those markets will play for Santiago in the next couple of days. The sheer number of small corner markets in Santiago (practically every corner) has absorbed the panicky run on food.
I went to my corner market and saw that the soft drink and juice aisle was pitifully empty, an unpopular two or three liters of soda remained. I got the last fresh bread in the bins. Of the manufactured bread, only a loaf of Easter bread waited to be purchased. But I wasn't worried. I just got on my bike and went from market to market until I had what I needed. The Santiaguinos have done the same.
Things are so normal, that even the kids went back to school today.
But, it's not all the way normal yet.
Today my roommate asked for clothes and food to donate South. I hear also that Don Franscisco's Teleton coming soon will be to raise money to rebuild the South.
And we hear the stories of the people who drowned in the tsunami.
My other roommate Kanke comes home Thursday. She, and our friend Prema, are the last piece of my small network of friends that I have not seen. I don't think I'll feel 100% relieved until I see them face to face.
So life is back to normal for Santiago and for me...almost.