Updated: Apr 18, 2020
We've lived here in Charleston for less than 3 years and Hurricane Dorian came with our 4th mandatory evacuation. This was the first time that we decided not to leave.
Of course it brings a lot of anxiety, wonder and stress while the media scares the shit out of you and wants you to prepare for the worst, but ultimately you just have to trust your neighbors that have been here through these seasons for years. The safe route is to leave, but it's not the easiest. We have become so comfortable in our home and packing up with a 88 lb. 1 year old Boxer puppy and a 7 year old Calico seems like a chore. Honestly, I feel like we have to bring more shit with us than people with kids between the 2 of them. Coming from central New York (Syracuse- GO ORANGE!), we don't know how to deal with Hurricane season because we are just used to extreme cold and snow storms. I'm a pro at driving through that, but not flying debris and flood waters. It's a whole new game down here. But now that we know what to expect should we stay the next time, I feel a little better knowing that our seasoned neighbors and the city of Charleston come well equipped for this sort of thing.
Tuesday, expecting Dorian to be here by Thursday, we filled up gallon zip lock bags with water and froze them incase the power went out and we needed to keep our fridge cool. We also made a trip to Costco just to get gas, and found ourselves in the midst of mayhem as others thought it'd be smart to fill up too. When we saw that Costco opened early, we decided to grab some essentials to tide us over if we lost power. We got some cases of water, bread, Pirate Booty (an ESSENTIAL item), and some Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears duh.
Wednesday got kinda sketchy. Winds picked up and it was raining on and off, but nothing to be worried about. As we attempted to fall asleep, the power went out around midnight. Your girl CANNOT sleep without a fan on, so this was not good. We knew we'd probably lose power but didn't think it'd be this soon. We also have some pretty tall Pine Trees in our backyard, and our bed is positioned on the back wall of the house, so we decided to go downstairs where it would be cooler without AC/fans and pulled out our couch to sleep. Tim was snoring the second his head hit the pillow and per usual, I lay there staring at the ceiling listening to the rain and wind vibrate our sliding glass doors. Beau started to get anxiety throughout the night and repeatedly paced around in the dark.
Thursday morning; wind is whipping leaves off trees like softened butter. My parents live about 15 minutes away a bit North of us, so they checked in with their neighbors to see if they still had power (For those of you that don't know- my parents head back to our hometown in NY for the Summer and had planned on returning to Charleston Thursday). They luckily still had power, so we made a last minute decision at 9am to head to their house before the worst of the storm was supposed to hit. The roads were completely vacant except for the select few that were just as dumb as us to drive in the middle of the hurricane. We got there safe, unloaded and waited. Hurricane Dorian arrived around 11am.
Honestly, I was kinda scared. But at the same time, I'm a woman of faith and I know that God was watching over us and granting us grace. I thought for sure that tree was going to uproot or crack in half, but its roots were strong throughout the 24 hours that we experienced tropical storm force winds. Luckily, the storm surge and rain that was forecasted for us wasn't as devastating as expected. We were definitely spared here, and sooner than later our beautiful city will become picture perfect again in no time. Beau was a trooper throughout the whole event and actually found entertainment in the wind blowing shit around. He also apparently LOVES aggressive rain. Cool. Another positive about being at my parents' house is that they have a fenced in backyard, so we would just let him run out there and do his business before yelling at him to come inside. Reese couldn't have cared less about the hurricane either.
Our house still didn't have power after 48 hours, so we decided to head back to check on it, rid our fridge of the inevitable spoiled food at this point, shower and get some new clothes. I was showering by candlelight, shutting my eyes as I was washing my hair, and then when I opened them back up, the lights were on! I IMMEDIATELY broke into the holy gospel while the soap burned my eyes and Tim ran around the house screaming. Thank you JESUS.
At this point, my parents were packed up and began their 15 hour road trip back to Charleston. We didn't want them returning to their home with a mess to deal with, so we went back to their house to clean and rake up the yard. *Note to self; do NOT purchase a house with Pine Trees on your property if you live in the South.* Like new! You'd never know a hurricane blew by here. All cleaned up and ready for their arrival.
We couldn't wait to get back home and get back to our usual routines. I write allll of that to say this:
We. are. blessed. It shouldn't take something like a Category 3 Hurricane to make us value all that we have, but sometimes we all need something as such to put our blessings into perspective. Life is an absolute gift and we are fortunate enough that we have a roof over our heads, money in our pockets to replenish food lost, and a place of comfort and refuge for when our privileged lives get interrupted by a loss in electricity. We are healthy, we are happy, and we are so lucky. I cannot even begin to imagine what The Bahamas are going through, and all of the past countries that have and will be devastated by natural disasters. All we can do is pray, donate, and be understanding and patient with those that are less fortunate than us.
And that's an overall lesson that needs to be learned for any situation. When someone is less fortunate than you, remove yourself from your current situation and have empathy. Listen. I guarantee you that you will feel SUCH a bigger sense of fulfillment by helping someone in need rather than any materialist item you can buy. We are all fighting a battle that most don't know about, but acknowledging the good in the universe is the first step into having a better sense of self worth. Someone has it much worse off than you. Your pain is only temporary. And together, we can fix it. Ask for help when you need it, and have faith in humanity.
Thank you to Dominion Energy of South Carolina for working tirelessly to restore power to the 200k+ residents that lost it during Hurricane Dorian. Thank you to the police department, firefighters, first responders, land escaping companies, customer service workers at gas stations, grocery stores and everyone else that were on the clock to selflessly help others during this time. Charleston is a strong ass city and I fall more in love with my new home every day. Hurricane Dorian made that even more clear than ever.