It is hard to believe that just a couple of days ago I was quite literally a nomad because of Hurricane Sandy. I am so incredibly thankful to be home after spending five nights in four different locations last week - to those who opened their homes to me and shared their clothes I don't know what I would have done without you.
I have spent the majority of this weekend wandering around Carroll Gardens and Boreum Hill, finally having the opportunity to put my thoughts about this past week onto paper. Honestly, everything feels quite surreal.. Where I live the only lingering effects I can see of Sandy are the blocks long lines of cars waiting for gas and a few unopened subway lines, but I know that even now there are people still without homes, food, electricity, hot water, etc.
Here is the semi-condensed version of my past week...
My mom asked me at one point last week if it felt like deja vu because the Fall that I moved to Seattle we experienced a substantial earthquake.. and now only a few short months after moving to New York, Hurrican Sandy arrives. Sure at times I envision myself as an "atmosphere changer" but this is not at all what I had pictured.
Because I did not want to be stranded in Brooklyn unable to get to work, college, friends, etc. I took up the offer extended by my friend Andrew Nielsen to wait out the hurricane at his apartment, that he shares with his roommate Jared. Oh maybe I should give you a little back story about Andrew, let's see... He is in my economics class at The King's College, he is an actor and waiter, he plays cello (or so I have heard.. but not literally heard), and on the Saturday evening before the hurricane I helped him host a "Brinner" party. Not only was he a great host, but he kept us chuckling...
Did I mention that before the hurricane we probably only knew each other for a week? Natural disasters have an uncanny ability to make "fast friends".
After requesting that Andrew repeatedly sing to me my favorite scene from Sleeping Beauty ..
"Eggs, flower, milk... just do it like it says here in the book."
I was inspired to do a little cooking of my own... And this was not to be the only time that a movie would inspire a kitchen creation of some sort...
The only problem was that there was not a rolling pin to be found, well if a hurricane teaches you anything it would be improvisation.. so the wine bottle became a rolling pin .. my southerm methodist grandma would have been utterly appalled.
I don't know how this happened but during the hurricane we managed to have bacon with every meal except maybe one...I blame Heider who kept asking me about what meat we were going to serve with the meal. It wasn't my fault that our only options were bacon and sausage (something I avoid at all costs). First world problems I tell you.
Initially when the electricity went off we all moved our things to the second floor of the church that Andrew's apartment was in.. but we lasted there for only a half hour it was more creepy than being in the apartment. So Andrew and I crammed into a twin bed that was shoved into a nook that fitted it perfectly and tried to sleep pretending to ignore the wind that was rattling the windows..
The morning after the hurricane we (Andrew, Jared, Heider and I) had no electricity, our phones were mostly dead and those whose phones weren't dead could not get reception.. so we decided to peek our heads out of our safe little nest and try to find some means to communicate with our parents. Turns out the payphones were working.. none of us could remember when or if we had used a payphone. Perhaps that is why our first tries were so unsuccessful and led to those darn machines eating our quarters. Finally, we were able to get a line out.. limited to three minutes we each called our parents first letting them know we were ok, then prying them for as much information as we could about the situation we were in (all in less than three minutes).. because none of us had access to technology we did not have a clue what was going on. After our calls we were able to piece together that the subways were down and the situation was dire in Jersey, Staten Island, East Village, as well as in the evacuation zones.
We decided it would be best to pack up our things i.e. "to go bags" and head over to Heider's apartment. While walking across the Williamsburg Bridge we realized that we were not the only ones who looked as though they had stepped out of an end of the world movie scene... many people were crossing the bridge with plastic bags brimming with groceries from Brooklyn, pulling luggage, or carrying pillows.
Arriving at Heider's we immediately plugged in our phones, turned on the news, and began to reconnect with the outside world.. We kept looking at each other realizing how mildly we had been affected compared to the situation of others. After watching news for quite some time we decided we needed a break in the form of "feel good" movies by Andrew's request because at midnight he would turn 21. He shared with us the crazy fact that he was actually born on the eve of "The Great Storm"..
Feel good started with Ratatouille which made me crave soup.. I began to wonder if a combination of raclette and fondue could made.. I don't have a photo but just imagine potatoes, milk, garlic, sour cream, sharp white cheddar, a soft swiss cheese, and lots of white wine.
In the days following the hurricane one of the weirdest things has been how almost schizophrenic the city became. Parts of Manhattan kept moving as though nothing had happened. People ordered their eggs "well done but not too well" not stopping for a moment to realize that the person serving them had spent the evening before literally sleeping on the diner floor.. and even worse other areas were turned into utter ghost towns.. you could see people only when they were filling up their water bottles at a fire hydrants, or shopping by flashlight in a corner store.
This past Thursday I returned to work, only slightly hampered by a newly acquired cold, and tomorrow we are back on campus...the college has told us to expect possibly an hour or more to be tacked on to our commutes (because not all of the subway lines are running) and that we should wear layers because the heating at the school is still not available. I realize that this has become an incredibly long post, but I know there are a few of you out there who had wanted an update.. So here it is :)
Random Tidbit: Movies watched during our time included Sleeping Beauty, Rocky Horror Show, My Best Friends Wedding, Runaway Bride, Ratatouille, Mary Poppins, Arachnophobia, The Haunting.. Oh and several episodes of Friends.