Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My least favorite holiday - National Alarm Testing Day

Let me take you back...way back...about 2 1/2 years ago.  I was just celebrating my two week anniversary in Switzerland, had finally figured out how to successfully shop for groceries without someone reminding me to weigh my own produce again, had ordered a cappuccino in German without having the barista give me the "tourist" eye, and hadn't gotten lost on my way back to my flat in at least 3 days (the first time I got lost, I ended up walking to a completely different town).  I was finally riding that "bring it Europe - you don't scare me with your crazy ways" high and basically skipping through the street.  I was even going to take the bus - BY MYSELF - until it happened...

The sirens.

These weren't just any sirens.  These were air-raid sirens.

Having lived in Fort Collins, my first thought was tornados.  But there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Then I looked around: everyone was speaking German or French, I was standing next to a cathedral, and I was in Europe.  I have also watched WAY too many historic films.

My heart shot up into my throat and I immediately thought, "Jesus...it's World War III!"

I ran home and immediately phoned Nick, leaving various voice messages like, "It's an emergency, there's sirens and I don't know where our bunker is!  Get in a bunker, Nick!"
Do not help fight colds or flu

It also didn't help that about a week prior to this, we had been issued our potassium iodide pills as part of our integration package.  These were given to us with a little, not-so-reassuring speech about the need to have them in case of a nuclear disaster because we were now living just a few miles away from a nuclear power plant.  While I appreciate the protective gesture, it didn't exactly scream "willkommen".

Peaking out of my apartment window, sirens still blaring, I started to calm down as I noticed that no one on the street seemed to be nearly as concern as I was.  No women were clutching their babies and tearing through the streets, no people praying, and certainly no one taking pills.

This was a test...only a test...of the national alarm system.

Happy National Alarm Testing Day!