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Mama Mary Shakes Our World

February 12, 2011

Just four days into the trip (Feb 11) and I am not sure how it can get any better.

After sending out an email letting a few close friends know what Jen and I are up to recently, I get a surprising response back from none other than the Mary Haines.  Now some of you might not have had the pleasure and joy of meeting Mary – that is just simply unfortunate for you.  As for Jen and myself, we had the chance to work with Mary for a few years while in DC and whenever I went on international trips for work, it was always with Mama Mary.  Needless to say, we have been friends ever since.

So, it was a great surprise that when I opened her e-mail it told me she was just a short distance away at another hotel in Santiago!  Shocked and perplexed by the insane coincidence, I immediately wrote her back and we began to formulate plans for dinner and drinks.

The next day, after checking out of our place, booking a bus trip, and having a good meal at a local restaurant, we headed up the Sheraton.  Upon arrival an American flag greeted us both outside and in, which is always a great sight to see along with familiar sight of government staffers conducting walk-throughs and site visits.  Eventually Mary, looking as radiant as ever, came down and greeted us and we all went up to the top story of the hotel tower for drinks.  Besides getting to see a good friend randomly in a foreign country, the second best thing of the trip was about to happen.

As we are sitting at the table talking, I began to feel a little sick and almost as if I were about to pass out.  The room was beginning to spin and my equilibrium was out of kilter.  I looked around and my eyes could not seem to focus properly and that’s when Mary said to look at the chandelier.  As I turn around I notice it swaying back and forth violently, almost hitting the ceiling before swinging back to the other side and doing the same.  We were in an earthquake!!!

I know it sounds stupid but I have always wanted to live through an earthquake to see what it felt like. Each time I go to California, I always wonder if it will be the time I get to feel the ground shake.  Sure enough, a 6.8 magnitude quake hit the city of Santiago while we were there.  What an experience.  From what I have read there was no major damage or injuries, but the news was too concerned with Mubarak stepping down from power in Egypt to report that much.  However, I certainly hope there was not and it seemed there were no big issues when we drove through the city later on.  Actually, the Chilean people are somewhat accustomed to it and the hotel staff laughed by how excited I was and went along with business as normal.

Eventually, we had a great dinner with Mary and almost missed our bus because we lost track of time telling stories and catching up.  Now we sit on a TurBus headed farther south on our way to Pucon, a city within the lakes district of Patagonia which is supposed to be gorgeous and adventure filled.  The bus is amazing by the way, seats that lay back all the way, pillows, blankets, and “You’ve Got Mail” playing on the TVs (although we are opting for tv shows on the iPad).

What a truly blessed and exciting day we have had.  Obviously we are still slow to set up/update the blog (sorry), but I am working on it as well as getting pictures up too (because we all know it is more fun to look at those than read my boring typing).  Patience is a virtue.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    February 14, 2011 02:49

    OH MY GOSH! Mary Haines! HILARIOUS! She was a czar at the longggg names of foreign leaders on the advance schedules ha!

  2. Jen O'Hair permalink
    February 14, 2011 15:32

    The blog looks great!! And glad to see you guys on Flickr, too. Sounds like the trip has been quite adventurous already. Love it. Oh and enjoy the nice buses while you can. Bolivia will be a different story. 🙂

    Miss y’all!
    XOX Jen

  3. Taylor Engel permalink
    February 18, 2011 09:13

    I can’t believe you experienced the earthquake!! i heard about it on the news and thought CHILE! that’s where jen and steven are! i’m glad you’re ok and that it was an adventure! love reading about your life!


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