Shaken Earth, Lives, and Emotions…

I was getting ready to post here yet another recipe when I heard the news about the big earthquake in the eastern part of  Turkey.

As soon as I landed in Omaha on Sunday for an internal conference, I turned on my cell phone and the first text message that popped up on my phone was from my concerned supervisor: “Are your friends and family ok?”… I had not heard about the quake then so my heart just sank to my stomach and a million scenarios played out in my mind as to what could have happened in Turkey within the past several hours during my flight.

In that time period, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Van, in the east region of Turkey and so far, CNN says there are 279 reported deaths and more than 1,300 people got hurt. And I hope it stops there but as the rescue missions have started, unfortunately it will increase minute by minute.

An earthquake shakes you to your core that you did not know it had existed before. Your mind starts racing in terms of where to run, what to take and who you run to first to save, thinking you can save your loved ones.

I experienced a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook Izmit and Istanbul in August 1999 and claimed over 17,000 lives. It threw me out of my bed in the middle of the night and within that 40 something seconds, I learned that, although I had an argument with my dad the night before, he still loved me because he ran to my room to calm me down and guided me to run outside, I learned that for some reason I took several pairs of socks right before I ran outside (only God knows why!), and I immediately started thinking about the whole family, their whereabouts and if I will hear from them the next day.

My whole family was fine…I am grateful for that million times. It is amazing how long the seconds can last… and how much thinking and the heavy emotions you can fit in a 40 seconds time period. 17,000 of people that night and many more lives around the world since then did not have the chance to contemplate about those long seconds.

Earthquakes, in my opinion, are one of the worst catastrophes that can happen. I don’t mean to undermine the severity of floods, fires, and such but when the earthquake hits there is nowhere to run, you don’t know where the next safe place is. There is not much you can do except to wait for it to be over for those long seconds.

Seems like around the world, people have been experiencing that quite a bit. Right around the time we have gotten over the Japan earthquake, another one hits and claims lives.

Earth does not want us to forget that we, humans, can not control everything in our lives, even though we want to believe in or act otherwise.

But we can help to ease the consequences for the people living with the aftermath. If you are interested in making a donation, please visit Turkish Red Crescent organization’s website. It is a non-profit that has been around in Turkey since 1868, is helping to alleviate human suffering and shares the same fundamental principles as the Red Cross.

Or you can join the Facebook cause that was started by Bridge to Turkiye, another great non-profit that helps the children in need in Turkey.

 We can not stop the Earth from shaking but please help to shake it in our own way.


  1. by Lana
    6:39 pm
    Oct 24, 2011

    Ilke, I have only experienced small earthquakes which still left me feeling helpless and completely lost. I cannot even fathom the strength of the big one and I dread it ever since we moved to California in 2008.
    My friends and family were visibly shaken today when they talked about the earthquake in Turkey and my heart goes out to your people. Sending you hugs from Serbia:)

  2. by Ilke
    11:00 pm
    Oct 24, 2011

    Beth, Elizabeth and Lana…. Thanks a lot for your thought and prayers. Hope the region will recover and people will have a roof over their heads in this cold weather.

  3. by Beth Anne
    6:46 pm
    Oct 24, 2011

    I hope that all of your friends and family are safe, Ilke. We will certainly make a donation in your honor. I know first hand how difficult these times are and that aid comes in so many forms. If there’s anything else we can do please let me know. Hugs to you!

  4. by Elizabeth
    10:31 pm
    Oct 24, 2011

    Ilke, I’m relived to hear that your family is safe. Earthquakes and their aftermath can be so, so devastating.

    I experienced my first earthquake about 6 weeks ago in Virginia – and although it was “big” for us, it was small in the grand scheme of things. Quite an eye opening experience.

  5. by Lell Trogdon
    7:14 pm
    Oct 25, 2011

    We are all thinking of you at the cafe and hope to raise a bit of cash to donate. I am so hoping that all of your family and friends are ok and you are able to be in touch with everyone. Please come home safely and know we are there if you need a bit of food and coffee comfort!

  6. by Ilke
    9:18 am
    Oct 26, 2011

    Hi Lell… Thank you so much for your thoughts. All my family is fine since my family is far from the quake location.

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