The scariest experience of my life

Hello friends and readers! Hello from devastated Nepal! I believe everybody out there have heard about the dreadful earthquake that hit the country on Saturday. Not that it came as a surprise to anybody living in Nepal. This earthquake had been expected for several years. According to statistics such major earthquakes happen in the region every 70-75 years. The last occurred in Nepal in 1934, 81 years ago. So, actually it was even slightly over due. Interesting, that in spite of this, as I read in a local newspaper a couple of months ago, 80% of the respondents of a sociological survey believed that the Big One would not happen during their life time. Naivety? Sooner, our human nature: we refuse to believe that something like this can really happen to us. Even me...not that I didn't believe in reality of this earthquake but somehow I hoped that I will not be in Nepal when it happens.

First minutes after the earthquake. Trying to contact relatives

Anyway, it happened. And I was in Nepal. We had breakfast and I was about to leave for grocery shopping. Then it stroke. I had experienced several minor earthquakes here in Nepal before. But this time from the first seconds I knew that this was The One as the shaking was so severe and violent. Stricken with fear and with the thought "this is it" in my mind I rushed to the door. I had always had an emergency bag just near the exit but my only wish at the moment was to get out of the house as soon as possible. So, the bag was left where it was. My husband rushed after me, also ignoring the carefully prepared for this occasion bag.

Waiting for the aftershock. There is an emergency bag near me, containing documents, some food, water and first aid kit.

We reached the open space of our yard and squated. I noticed one of my cats, all her hair stood on end, rushing in the opposite direction. Everything around us was shaking violently. It lasted for more than one minute. It was the scariest minute of my life. As it became known later, thousands of people were being killed during that minute.

Our neighbourhood. The turquoise house used to be a five-storey building, two storeys just got flattened

When it stopped, I went inside the house to take that bag, my phone and sandals (I rushed out barefoot) and a blanket. The day before it was sunny and 27-29C outside, but the day of the earthquake the temperature dropped to 17-19C, it was gloomy and windy.
Surprisingly, the internet and phone still worked and we managed to contact the close ones saying we were safe. Then strong aftershock came, then another one and the phone, internet and electricity was gone. We got electricity back after two days, phone connection after three and finally internet after almost five days.

5 am on Sunday, after yet another aftershock and sleepless night in the open

As aftershocks continued during the whole Saturday day we decided to sleep outside. We didn't have any tent though, just brought an old matress from the garage and made ourselves comfortable on it staring at the stars. It was fine untill it started to rain in the middle of the night. Needless to say that I hardly had any sleep that night. Continuing tremors, my own fears and thought kept me awake.
On Sunday there was another strong shake and so, again we stayed outside and spent another night in the open. And only on Monday we could move back inside the house.

A collapsed telephone tower in our neighbourhood

Our school 

Luckily, our neighbouring didn't suffer much: one small temple collapsed, a telephone tower was broken, two houses were rather heavily damaged and a few got cracks. No casualties. But among those who were killed in Kathmandu, there is at least one man who I knew personally. With some there is still no connection.

Kathmandu streets after the earthquake

I love this city. It hurts so much to see all the damage that the earthquake caused: beautiful historical buildings destroyed, medieval temples collapsed, numerous houses damaged and roads cracked. My heart and prayers are with those families who lost their beloved ones in this disaster.

Thank you to all who expressed their concern, love and support by writing me personally or by leaving a message here on the blog.

I have a confession to make: it feels tremendously awesome to be alive!
To help Nepal you can donate trough one of these organisations
transfer money to the fund set up by the Nepalese English language newspaper The Himalayan Times

Every little counts!


  1. Olga, I'm so relieved to hear that you and your loved ones are safe. I can't even imagine what everyone is going through, I've been moved to tears by the news and the terrible suffering endured by Nepal, India & Tibet. Stay safe. xxxx

  2. What a terrifying experience! I'm glad to hear that you and your family are safe. Your kitty looks like she doesn't want to leave your side. You may be interested to know that the organization I work for has sent a team of rescue workers and veterinarians to Nepal to treat all types of animals and try to re-unite pets with their people. Pets are such a comfort in times like this.

  3. Oh my goodness, what a relief to see a post from you, Olga. Of course we have been following the news of the earthquake and the aid and rescue efforts on the news, it's been so distressing to see such devastation and loss. Living through it must have been terrifying. I hope all your readers will consider making a donation to one of the relief charities. Sending much love to you. xxx

  4. Wow - I am SO relieved that you and loved ones are okay. It's funny how the media brings everything so close but at the same time distances us from how truly awful it is. Your personal story is the one that hits me strongest. I am sad, sad, sad for everyone who couldn't wake up to another beautiful day. I'm glad you are alive and well, and your cat too.

  5. Dear Olga, I am so glad that you and your family survived and hopefully are save now. I am with you in my thoughts. I hope rescue for the people having no home and place to stay will cone very soon.
    Take care dear Olga
    Sabine xxx

  6. Dear Olga, I am so glad that you and your family survived and hopefully are save now. I am with you in my thoughts. I hope rescue for the people having no home and place to stay will cone very soon.
    Take care dear Olga
    Sabine xxx

  7. It is beyond good news to find you well, dear. So sorry you had to endure this terrible thing. My hearts certainly goes to those who lost loved ones, but it also goes to all of you who experienced such terror. I wished so badly to be able to travel there and help but am completely without the ability to do so. I do not even know what I could have done, my heart just said go help. The part about the weather change is fascinating as well. It is certainly human nature to ignore dangers they have little to no control over. Growing up in my country, the threat of nuclear war was taught to us from an early age; a completely impossible concept and way too scary to spend much time considering, but a very real danger. Once again, so glad you are OK physically and I hope that emotionally you can find a peace and healing as well.

  8. Oh, dear Olga....I thought of you today and am so glad to know you're all right. Such a terrible disaster. Thank you for letting us know you are okay.

  9. Оля, я не знала про землетрясение. Какое счастье, что вы целы и невредимы! Какое горе, что люди пострадали, город пострадал... Пусть все наладится и все бедствия минуют.

    В Красноярске землетрясения не редкость (не настолько сильные, конечно - но все, кто пережил, знают, что это страшно) - и я не чувствовала ни одного, хотя соседка рядом со мной в квартире чувствовала. Удивительно. Экстремальные морозы я тоже не застала - все время была в разъездах именно в те пару недель. Несколько лет прожила там, где торнадо случаются сплошь и рядом - и ни разу даже близко не видела ни одного (мой муж был очевидцем 12 сильных торнадо). В рубашке родилась. Как и ты! Живи, радуйся жизни, радуйся всему! Жить - это огромное счастье. С любовью, Н

  10. Dear Olga, it's very wonderful to hear that you are safe--thank you for sharing that update with us. Wishing you strength in the days to come. I know it's frivolous, but perhaps it will make you smile to know that you look just as beautiful as ever, despite your ordeal. I agree: it's tremendously awesome that you are alive!

  11. I have a terrifying fear from earthquakes even if I only experienced minor ones. The feeling of earth moving beneath my feet makes me feel utterly bewildered and lost and I can't even imagine how difficult it was to endure such a strong earthquake for an entire minute...and how heartbreaking to think of all that was lost in that minute.

    Last year in this time of year, there were horrible floods in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Many lives were lost and it was really hard to witness all that suffering and I know it must be really difficult for you as well. Our heart always goes out to those affected by devastating natural disasters but it even stressful when it happens in your own country and when you witness such tragedies first hand. It makes us feel powerless but we must remember that where is love, there is always hope. Loosing somebody we love is always the most difficult thing we can experience and for all those people who lost their loved ones these are hard times indeed...but the best way to honour those we lost and what we lost is to live on...Try to get some rest and thank you for sharing this with us.

  12. Dear Olga, so relieved to hear you and your family are safe and well. So sad to see on the news reports the devastation and terrible loss of life in Nepal and surrounding countries.You and your countrymen have been very much in my thoughts as you journey through this distressing time. Take care, Olga.xx

  13. I have never experienced anything like it. I felt a small tremor when Iran was hit a few years ago and already I was scared and confused at why the sofa I was sitting on was shaking side by side for a few seconds. It only hit me that it was some sort of quake when I saw the chandelier above was swaying. I am so glad that you are ok and thank you for sharing your story and this organization where we can send our small help. Hugs