Lisa Takahashi, a student from the University of Southern California studying in Hong Kong, was on a tour bus headed to the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area in China's Sichuan Province when the 7.9-magnitude quake hit in May.

The chaos and ensuing destruction made its impact, but it was the hospitality of the people she encountered that left a lasting impression.

A week after returning to the United States, Takahashi, 21, talked of her experience. A holder of dual citizenship from both the United States and Japan, Takahashi remembers the moment the powerful temblor made her no longer a mere tourist, but a survivor.