To say that a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks is putting it lightly. Since I last posted, I have left Ireland, my family, my job, my friends and journeyed to beautiful, sunny Long Island, New York. Why did I make the leap? Well that’s another blog post entirely.
I’ve been in New York (“my home away from home” really) for just over two weeks and it has been a whirlwind. Literally.
Earthquakes and hurricanes are two things that are generally quite low on New Yorkers lists of things to worry about; and yet both have happened since I arrived. Let’s just hope that’s a big coincidence!
The earthquake was the first bizarre occurrence. I was at home, working on a project, minding my own business when I heard a rattling sound. I went over to inspect the wine rack, which was trembling slightly and I could not, for the life of me figure out why. Next I hear my sister upstairs screaming “is that a tremor?” No. It couldn’t be. This isn’t California, we just don’t have extreme weather here in New York. Unless you count the snow, but we can handle that! Now that I thought about it, I did feel kind of dizzy. Once the sensation had passed I checked twitter and sure enough, everyone was chatting about an earthquake in Virginia that could be felt all the way up to Toronto. Now, if that’s not freak weather, I don’t know what is!
I spoke to several New Yorkers about the quake. Some thought it was extremely cool, and others (perhaps the more dramatic among them) seemed genuinely worried. One of my friends thought it was just coming up to lunchtime and that her stomach was rumbling! Here’s an idea of what people thought:
And just when I thought that we were done with freakish weather on the east coast, along comes Hurricane Irene. The warnings began early, but because hurricanes happen every summer and usually taper off before they get anywhere near the tri-state area, I largely ignored them. It wasn’t until Mayor Bloomberg outlined a possible evacuation plan (the first mandatory strategy of its kind) that I sat up and took notice. Even more extreme was the complete shut-down of New York’s mass transit system. This sort of plan was completely unprecedented and frankly not something I could even contemplate.
Here’s a clip of me speaking to Jonathan Healy on Newstalk’s Lunchtime Programme…
The weekend of the storm was terrifying to be honest. We spent most of Saturday in this pre-storm haze of news reports and weather maps. Outdoor furniture was tied down, local businesses were boarded up and sandbagged and we were instructed to have a “go-bag” of essentials ready should be have to leave the house in a hurry. Our biggest worry in Nassau County was the perils of falling trees. Last March, during a particularly violent storm, a tree fell on top of the house next door to us – crashing through a teenager’s bedroom. I wasn’t taking any chances and slept on the couch.
As we went to bed, begrudgingly, we could hear things flying around outside and the wind and rain seriously picking up. Around 2:30am, our power blew – which really freaked everyone out. We all fell asleep and when we woke up the next morning, we creeped outside to see what the damage had been.
Thankfully, as we slept the hurricane was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and although it caused havoc for electricity users, the structural damage to the houses in my neighborhood was pretty tame. We spent most of the day cleaning up minor branches and leaves from around the house and garden.
Although we definitely got off lightly after Irene, we then faced FOUR DAYS of no electricity and considering that an office (with several employees) is based here – that was a problem. We carried flashlights around to go to the bathroom. Everything in the fridge had to be disposed of and most noticeably, we had no hot showers or air conditioning. We did manage to acquire a small generator to run the phones in the office – but when the electricity did come back on, I’ve never seen a happier group of people!
So, a tumultuous first two weeks here in NY. Hopefully it continues to be this exciting!