The last few days living in NYC have been surreal. After a Saturday evening of Halloween celebrations, we all retreated to our apartments to prepare for Sandy’s visit. We had been through this the year before, with a resulting impact far less severe than all the warnings — so, many questioned how seriously to take this round.
Regardless, we brought our plants in from the terrace. We made a heaping bowl of pasta that would last for days should we lose power. We filled bottles and our largest pots with water. We did our laundry and our dishes. We turned on a movie and we hunkered down, waiting.
As the wind blew stronger outside with each hour and sirens screamed in the distance, the breaking to-the-second reports came pouring in on twitter — 12 foot ocean swells in lower manhattan, 3+ feet of water in friend’s lobbies, cars gliding down streets that had become rivers, a wave of power outages from the Battery to midtown and then friends signing off from social media to conserve battery life…
We wouldn’t know how lucky we were to be on higher ground on the Upper West Side until the next day. I woke up to the sun peeking through the clouds, brightly colored fall leaves gently blowing on their branches and even a broom still standing upright on the roof next door. As I checked my fully powered computer, it was apparent just how horrendous Sandy had been to so many others.
Many family and friends have called to check in on me — and I feel guilty that I can answer my phone and say we’re fine and in the middle of baking cookies. While we are safe and just patiently waiting for regular routines to resume, we know this will take a longer time than just when the lights come back on for many.
This year, more than ever, is a year to give thanks. To spend a little extra time around the holiday table with the people you love. To slowly enjoy the meal that took hours, even days to prepare. To start new traditions and celebrate old. To simmer, roast and bake with your own two hands — to share more than just a plate of food with your guests. And if you’re able to help those in need through donations, time or meals, I encourage you do that too.