The Good, The Bad, & The Scary
Living in Florida comes with a lot of wonderful experiences, endless supply of bright sunny days for relaxing on a beautiful beach or catching a nice tan by the pool. Endless supply of golf courses and backyard BBQs every weekend with friends and family. Spectacular nature trails surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, and amazing sunsets every day of the year. But living in Florida also comes with some disadvantages such as dodging hurricanes every year during Hurricane season. It becomes sort of like second nature to the residents of Florida especially the locals living in the coastal areas.
Though with the insanely unprecedented event that was brought by Hurricane Irma, it had everyone stressing out more than usual. What I did notice was that the friends and neighbors that are relatively new to Florida were the ones freaking out the most. And that’s completely understandable because for them this was a completely new and scary event on which no one had any control over nor could it be predicted with exact accuracy. Even with all the modern technology that we have regarding on how to track the path of a hurricane, Irma proofed that we still can’t predict mother nature. Mother Nature can and will do what ever she pleases and all we can do is fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.
What we learned
So now that the hurricane Irma has come and gone, I interviewed roughly around 20 of my friends and neighbors to see what they learned from preparing and dealing with hurricane Irma. My interviews included people that have been living in Florida all their lives and I also interviewed people that are new to Florida and that have never lived through a hurricane before. The reason why I also included long time residents in Florida is simply because after dodging hurricanes, you sometimes become numb and forget what’s it like to face a real life threat like a beast of a hurricane. A natural catastrophe with unprecedented damage and destruction is never to be taken likely. And I also wanted to interview people that are new to Florida because I was intrigued by what they learned from dealing with a hurricane for the first time.
I discovered that they were similarities in both groups and also major differences that were expected from the beginning. The hurricane experienced group learned that they underestimated the path of distraction of hurricane Irma. They admitted that they should have done a better job a preparing for the storm. They also learned not leaving things till the last minute was one of the most important things that they will now keep in mind for next time.
The second group of people that had never experienced a hurricane before, provided me the most feed back. And this is what they learned from dealing with a hurricane for the first time~
“I would not watch the media as closely to avoid getting myself into such a panic.”
“This hurricane taught me that no matter how worried I am or how much the news spreads panic, the hurricane will do its business and there is nothing we can do but wait and see what happens. There is no reason to panic because things can change at the last minute and it's too unpredictable to panic.”
“Next hurricane I would make sure to have battery operated fans as well as extra flashlights.”
“I learned that people are so good to each other in times of crisis. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers online offering support and supplies- it was very inspiring. I also learned that hurricanes are SUPER unpredictable and deciding whether to stay or go is not as easy a decision as I used to think when I lived up north!”
“I'd work harder at not second guessing my gut, trust in our decision to stay or go, accept it and NOT panic.”
“Should of bought a generator. Not wait till last minute to buy water and board up windows.”
“I learned that it might be worth the investment in having Hurricane Shutters installed”
“I learned after gaining 5 pounds, on NOT buying all my favorite snacks and junk food for the next hurricane.”
“In dealing with a hurricane for the first time ever, I learned that I should have met my neighbors a long time ago. I have been living in my neighborhood for one whole year now, and I didn’t know my next door neighbors at all. The sad part was that we finally met and they are all very nice people. And they have helped me in my time of need because our block was with out power for one whole week, and my next door neighbors had a generator and they shared their generator with us. That was incredibly nice of them.”
“I should of had a huge cooler with plenty of Ice, for when our power went out”
“We made the mistake of decided on getting out of town at the very last minute, so we were stuck in traffic longer than what we had anticipated.”
“I learned that for my next hurricane, I will buy those plastic floor covers because I had to enter some of my patio furniture into my home and they leaked some of that rust onto my nice carpeted floors and now my carpet has rust stains all over. I also should of pre-washed some of the patio furniture because I had a bunch of little frogs and lizards all over my living room during the hurricane”
“Social Media helped my stay connected to my family and friends. This helped with the stress of dealing with a hurricane for the first time because I didn’t feel alone.”
“Simple pleasures that go under appreciated everyday, were greatly missed when we went without power for 5 days. It felt like an eternity.”
“I learned that even though we live in one of the best countries in world, hurricane Irma has shed some dim light on the extreme raw poverty that some people have to live with on a daily basis in our own beloved state of Florida”
It was interesting to me hearing and reading what many of my friends new and old, have learned from dealing with a hurricane. The fascinating fact is that no matter how much we think we know about something, we never stop learning. No two experiences are ever the same, each experience brings to insight that hopefully make us better prepared for the next one. I learned that letting our guards down is also a good thing because we need to allow other people to enter in our lives and we need to learn to co-exist with one another.
At the end of the day, most of us were worried that our homes were going to be blown away. We were worried that the damages brought by the hurricane would bring down the value of our homes. We worried that living in a flood zone, that our already pricy flood insurances would sky rocket again. We worried that our old roofs would not survive the storm or would start to leak. We worried that the neighbor’s junk from his backyard would fly into one of our windows. We worried that the tourism is Florida will dwindle due to the hurricane’s aftermath. We worried that our home went for sale into the real estate market at the wrong time. We worried that the housing market will suffer due to the intense media coverage of Hurricane Irma.
But surprisingly those pre-conditioned thoughts have shifted to, thank God that we were able to afford home insurance this year. Thank God that we survived the hurricane. Thank God that we still have a home left. Thank God that all we lost was the electricity. Thank God that I finally met my next door neighbors in a time of need. Thank God that my family is safe and sound. Thank God that now we can start the road to recovery and help those that were not spared from Hurricane Irma’s destruction. Thank God that…