Carson family shaken by Chile quake |

Carson family shaken by Chile quake

Teri Vance

Carson High School graduate Alli Collier, 19, who is spending the year in Chile as a foreign-exchange student, wrote on her blog about the Feb. 27 quake:

“It was as if someone took the world between their hands and shook it back and forth,” she wrote. “To be honest, I don’t even remember getting out of bed, I moved so fast. This was the scariest moment of my life.”

It turned into “the worst night” for 19-year-old Nico Carrasco, who is spending the year in Carson City, as he waited to hear news from his family in Chillan, an hour outside of Concepcion, where the quake hit.

“I called my dad and I called my mom, but no one answered,” he said. “The phones weren’t working. I didn’t sleep that night.”

In the middle of it all were Alli’s parents, Matt and Cathie, who are hosting Nico in their home.

“It was a really long morning,” said Matt, who turned on the computer and cell phones to make sure they didn’t miss any attempts at communication.

“It was the kind of thing where you just stared at the phone hoping it would ring.”

Around noon, Nico heard from a cousin in Santiago that his family was OK and his house still standing.

Shortly after, Alli called, too.

Although relieved to hear she was OK, Matt still worried because she sounded upset, unlike her normal self.

“She’s a very positive person and always excited,” he said. “Her enthusiasm is pretty infectious.”

By the following Monday, she called back.

“She was back to herself then,” Matt recalled.

Alli wrote on her blog about seeing the devastation of the quake.

“My thoughts in this moment included: This is the end of the world and I am going to witness the earth cracking in half,” she wrote. “You really don’t understand how powerful the force of nature is until a moment like this. This was a powerful reminder of the force of God and how little control you have.”

In the weeks since, Matt said, Alli’s been helping her host family clean up after the quake and is determined to finish her year abroad with the Rotary Foreign Exchange program.

“I’m glad she is,” he said. “I think it’s going to turn out to be quite the experience.”

Cathie feels the same way.

“I trust the people she’s living with,” she said. “I know she’s OK.”