A Japanese friend (who is married to an American) said she felt selfish for being glad that she and her family are safe while thousands are suffering because of the earthquake and tsunami devastation. She intends to stay here until the sky starts to fall. She feels it is her duty to stay here and help.
That stopped me in my tracks today.
It has been over 48 hours since the word came for the Military Assisted Voluntary Evacuation. The key word being VOLUNTARY. I want to stay and help, even though I am happy to be able to see family again after almost 2 years. I am not panicked, and I am not afraid that there will be another bad earthquake. That is not to say I am used to the constant shaking. I am 90% sure that we will not be in danger of radiation. I spoke to a fellow Navy wife yesterday who is from Russia. She told me she went through the Chernobyl disaster and didn't feel the need to evacuate. She said matter of factly that it doesn't matter where we go- no one can control a radioactive cloud. I don't know enough to verify how it all works, but that made sense to me. But of course we are being evacuated to the US, she doesn't have kin there and therefore doesn't want to go.
So am I feeding into the hysteria? Do I think the "sky is falling"? Not really. But I have been wrapped up with the evacuation efforts, stressed to the core from trying to control rumors and comforting my kids because they don't understand why the "grown-ups" don't have their sh-- together. After reading my friends statement above I felt guilty. "Nancy, meet Perspective, Perspective, meet Nancy". Yes, this is stressful and travelling for what could be several days with my two cranky kids and 100s of other cranky people is not what I call a "vacation". But we are SAFE. I am not cold and starving with no home to go to, I haven't lost my whole family in a great rush of water. My children are safe, we have food and water and electricity. We still have internet for goodness sake. As far as I am concerned this is the lap of luxury.
So am I selfish for leaving? I don't think so. Actually, I think it is good for us all to go. The main reason being we (Military dependents) as a whole are a strain on Japan's resources right now. If we all leave that would save electricity and put less cars on the road (traffic is worse than usual.) And, the base will be able to conduct humanitarian efforts more efficiently without us here. One more thing, our military members- sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen- will be able to conduct their missions without worrying about their families being in harm's way. However, if I were Japanese, I would definitely want to stay. I understand where my Japanese friend is coming from.
I did need that dose of perspective. Suddenly, I wondered why the heck I was so stressed all day? (Well, besides the million phone calls, emails, and my kids getting upset at the uncertainty of it all.)
Speaking of perspective- this is a news cast my daughter recorded with her camera. It was an hour or so after the big earthquake.
The newscasters are wearing hardhats. You know things are bad when you see that.
Hopefully we will be getting out of here soon. And even more importantly, hopefully we will be returning.
One more thing- I understand even more why the Japanese love Ichiro Suzuki. I'll never forget my first Mariner's game. There was a big group of Japanese tourists shouting "Ichiro Ichiro Ichiro!!" every time Ichiro was up to bat. I hope more pro athletes follow his lead.
I'll try to keep everyone posted on my travel progress...