And then there was an earthquake…

Writing a new blog post has been on my to-do list since November. It didn’t budge by the beginning or even the middle of December, mostly due to lack of inspiration for an interesting post. I started this blog in September 2010 to document my experience moving to, and living in, Vancouver. It’ll be five years next week since I got on the place, and life here has gone from an extended vacation to…well, just life.

I used to fill my posts with of all of the funny cultural differences I was experiencing in Canada and what I missed about the UK. Five years on, those topics are pretty much done to death, I feel that much more displaced every time I go back to England and I can’t wait to come ‘home’ to Vancouver.

I went back for a week-long trip just before Christmas to attend an old friend’s wedding and catch up with friends and family. I spent most of the time wandering round in a bit of a daze noticing really tiny things about the UK that I’d never really considered before (those soft drink bottles really are TINY compared to the North American standard). On the outside I was a normal English person whose accent maybe had a bit of a twang, or then again maybe you were imagining it. On the inside I was screaming “you all think I’m like you, because I sound like you, but I’m not. I’m different and I have a whole new life and no idea how to function in this one anymore. How the hell do I respond to ‘alright?'”

So I didn’t write about that trip home, and I didn’t write about Christmas either. I used to to new year’s resolution posts but they were a bit pointless as none of the resolutions ever lasted longer than it took to proofread and hit ‘publish’. I had no idea what I was going to write about next, but knew I had to figure out something before the end of another month with no post.

And then there was an earthquake. If that’s not something to write about, I don’t know what is.

I tried to get an early night last night, but was woken up at 11:39pm by a quake ranging somewhere from 4.3-4.8. The shaking only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to mess with my suddenly awake senses and confuse the hell out of me.


It was a pretty minor one in the grand scheme of earthquakes, but my panic in the moment was whether this was a pre-cursor to ‘the big one’, which could hit Vancouver any day now (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just google The Big One Vancouver). It wasn’t helped by my the other half running into the bedroom clutching our earthquake kit yelling ‘This is it! This is it!’

Turns out it wasn’t it, but we evacuated the building anyway, just in case. The dog embraced the freezing cold midnight walk round the park and I made a mental note to add a hat and scarf to our kit. After scouring Twitter, phoning/texting half of Vancouver and speculating with the neighbours in the lobby (all 10 of them who got out of bed), we headed back upstairs. Funnily enough, neither of us slept very well. It’s amazing how one little earthquake can also be one huge reminder about the very real danger of the big one, which will be about 1000 times worse than last night. And all jokes aside, will be beyond terrifying and totally devastating.

Anyway, the internet is full of some pretty hilarious Vancouver earthquake memes today (and I admit to feeling a little smug that we already had our kit prepared), but it does get you thinking. If the big one could happen when I’m fully clothed, wearing comfortable shoes and have my contact lenses in, that would be awesome.



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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

6 responses to “And then there was an earthquake…”

  1. LA2VanCity says :

    Funny that you mentioned this, as this was our first Vancouver earthquake and made us think about home! Being transplants from Los Angeles, when we felt this the other day we didn’t even think it was an earthquake at first. It was so abrupt and short, we thought a car had crashed into our building! Then we found out it was a pretty good sized quake. In a weird way, we compared it to the quakes we have back in LA and then felt a bit homesick afterwards 🙂

    PS – Long time reader, first time commenter so I just wanted to say thanks for doing this blog as it was so very helpful to us before/during our move. Getting your thoughts and insight on the whole moving process really let us know what to expect. I’m sure it has helped so many other folks in a similar situation. Keep up the good work!

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hi, thank you so much for the comment, and for reading! My friends and I were just saying that earthquakes like this are much more a part of daily life in LA or San Fran, and Californians would probably laugh at Vancouver! The terrifying part for me wasn’t the actual quake, just wondering if it was the start of ‘the big one’ and praying it wasn’t because I didn’t have my contact lenses in!

      I really appreciate your kind words and hope you’re enjoying life in Vancouver. This whole blogging thing is funny as you’re never sure who (if anyone!) is actually reading what you write, so thanks for the feedback 🙂

  2. theentiretyoflife says :

    I can’t believe it’s so long since you moved – that’s amazing! I’m glad you love it there – will need to research ‘the big one Vancouver’ – that does not sound fun!!

  3. MarmitetoMaple says :

    Whatever we can do depending how bad it is. It’s a pretty worrying thing to have hanging over our head but we’re preparing as much as we can do and keeping our fingers very tightly crossed beyond that. :-/

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