Although my love for Chicago runs deep on a normal day, there are days when I'm particularly glad to live in a city where the worst possible natural disasters are blizzards and tornadoes. Although those are certainly bad, things could be much, much worse in terms of human lives and damage to property. Being in the middle of the country, we aren't exposed to the hurricanes or tsunamis that can hit coastal areas. We don't have mudslides, or volcanoes. Illinois does have two seismic zones -- the New Madrid Seismic Zone on the southernmost end of the state, and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone along our southern border with Indiana, but most of their tremors are barely noticeable in this neck of the woods.
After the February earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand while Justin's parents were there on vacation, and today's massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, where my friends Scott and Abel live, I am counting my blessings that Chicago won't be next on the list. Thankfully, everyone I've known who's been close to one of these disasters has survived relatively unscathed (though Justin's parents were separated from their belongings and had to travel home without them, Scott and Abel live far away from where the quake and tsunami struck.) My heart goes out to the victims of both tragedies and their families, and I for one will think long and hard before planning any vacations to places that are earthquake prone in the next few months.