My parents live in Santiago de Chile; my father works there as Trade Commissioner at the French Embassy.
On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from my very distressed brother who had tried all day to call them from Hong Kong after he had heard about the massive earthquake in that country. I had been running errands and had been busy all morning and had not heard the news at all.
I called the "crisis cell" of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry. They had somebody very reassuring tell me it was normal that the telephone be down and the best thing to do was to send out an email. And indeed, we did so and my father replied he and my mother were both fine.
My brother had suffered anguish for a whole day. Thanks to my not following the latest news, I was only distressed for two hours. After hearing of my father's email from my brother, I phoned the rest of the family members in France to transfer the good news. Some knew exactly why I was calling and were anxious to get news. My brother's sister and aunt on the other hand were blissfully unaware of what had happened in Chile and so were happy to get the news without suffering the torments of anguish.
We only got phone calls from my parents on Sunday afternoon when the telephone lines were patchily being restored.
The lesson I have learned, once again: I should not follow the daily news too closely. Immediate information about world problems probably contribute to provoque a lot of unecessary stress. I say, "once again", because I missed 09/11 completely. I was working so hard on finishing my Master's thesis that I only noticed the next day that the army had taken over the streets and underground stations of Paris.
Waiting for your call, One kind favor, Geffen Distribution