Cyclone Marcia: 6 months later (Part 2)

This is the second and last post in my Cyclone Marcia series. The first post can be found here

Cyclone Marcia was actually a lot of fun, thanks to the fact that we were in a safe location with good friends. The following are excerpts from my journal that I wrote while at the school (I've edited it a bit to keep names out of it).

It's hit land. TV people are saying not to leave our homes. 

Playing Go Fish with my friend and emailing other friends. 

My sister made a stupid/funny news video. We're waiting for it to come but so far it's just a light rainstorm. It's coming, but so far it's anti-climatic. 

Power's out, wind's bad. 

You can really hear the wind now. Some trees and especially branches/leaves have been ripped up. Still no power. 

It's slowed down now, but we had a big tree get uprooted right outside. Had lunch. A truck in the parking lot had its back window punched out by a tree. When we were looking, we noticed a dog-shaped silhouette in the window. Someone ran out and grabbed him. The poor thing looks and feels like a dishrag. He's so stressed, but some girls from down the hallway are looking after him. 

(***Note that the shelter didn't let animals in.)

We ended up playing board games and watching Guardians of the Galaxy on my brother's iPad. I had a nap. 

As soon as the cyclone ended, my siblings, my friends and I ran outside to try to clear the road of debris. Fallen branches and trees were everywhere, making it impossible to leave the school. We managed to get a few meters of road cleared when we were called back inside. Looking back, it was a stupid idea. Branches and trees were still falling, and there could have been fallen power lines. In the end, no one got hurt, but it still could have been bad. 

Before we could get out, we took a drive around the school grounds. It was almost unrecognizable. Trees had been uprooted and were strewn every which way, branches and leaves covered the place, fences were either completely down or at weird angles, bleachers had been blown over and all the trees had been completely stripped of their leaves. We could see buildings where there were no buildings before because of the trees' "haircut". 

Eventually, a road was cleared, and we were able to leave. We circled around town for a little bit, avoiding the huge trees that had fallen onto the road and taking pictures of the houses that had their roofs blown off. One house in particular had an entire wall gone (as well as their roof), and we could see right into their house. 

Could you imagine coming home to this? They still haven't cleaned it up.

It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Like I said, we thought that we would have been flattened. The two main things that saved us were that it was low tide when the cyclone stuck, and the cyclone quickly went from a category five to a three when it hit land. There very easily could have been a lot more houses gone and a lot more places flooded. (So technically, we were hit by a category three cyclone, but we like to say a category five because it sounds more impressive :) ) 

Later, we found out that no one was killed, which we were very thankful for. 

The only damage that we found at home was that the roads were difficult to drive on because of the debris, and our frangipani tree in the back had been uprooted (we put it back and it's now fine). We were very thankful for that. The rest of the neighbourhood fared better than expected. 

There was a lot of cleaning up to do.

The tree that's still standing with the top branches hanging down
(on the left) hasn't been cleaned up yet, and the branches are still hanging there. 

It blows my mind that nothing but the wind did this.
I might be able to do it with a car and a rope if I was lucky.

The power was still out, of course, and school was out of the question. We had a long, hot wait in for us.

Living without power is strikingly different than living with power, and I have to say that I like the latter more. For starters, you learn to eat your perishables very quickly, and we had lightning ninja skills when it came to getting stuff out of the quickly-warming fridge. We rarely used our electronics, and only used them to watch movies together; there was no more three-people-on-three-different-devices-at-the-same-time. When the sun went down, we went to bed. There was no point in staying up because there was nothing to do. 

There were a couple of things that saved our sanity. One, candles and solar charged lamps. Love them! We didn't have to worry about the batteries dying on us, because we sure couldn't buy any. Two, hand fans. We had this awesome one from Singapore that was in high demand. I mentioned before that this was the middle of summer. It was not fun. Three, Internet. What? You say. You had Internet? For a couple of minutes a day, we did. Dad hooked the Internet box up to his car and we got power that way. We could contact our friends and family them to tell them that we were fine. 

So what did we do for the four days without power and without school? I got some reading done (no writing because no electronics) and did my math assignment. We didn't do a whole lot else, and often just laid down and tried to escape the heat. We got power back four days later and were completely thrilled. 

I didn't realize how lucky we were until I went to work and discovered that some people still didn't have power, a week later. Four days suddenly didn't seem like a lot. 

A couple of days after we got power back, we drove to this one place where a field of trees had been planted after that area had been logged. You could sure tell which way the wind had been blowing, because all the trees were bent over. All of them. This huge forest, all bent. It blew our minds. 

You can't tell from the picture, but there's a whole field of trees bent over like this.

A week or so later, we were back at school. We had to drive past the asbestos HAZMAT guys who were dealing with the older houses who had been blown around, but things were pretty much back to normal for us. 

And six months later? We recently had a car wash to raise funds for people who were still struggling after the cyclone. Not everyone was as lucky as we were. The trees are growing back after being stripped of all their leaves, and 95% of the beachfront restaurants are back open. Things are back to normal.

And for that, I am ever so thankful.

Our community continues to recover, but beautiful things
continue to grow despite something as horrible as a cyclone. 


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