Rock Me Like a Hurricane, Matthew

On Tuesday, October 4th, the sun was shining in beautiful Charleston, SC. I was walking back to my apartment when my phone buzzed from a slew of text messages from my concerned mother. She told me that I needed to get out of Charleston and come home fast, with Tommy Pickles and everything that I would be absolutely devastated to lose. I went home to find my roommates also had similar calls and texts regarding evacuation. Because we don’t have our TV hooked up to cable, we can’t just turn to the news. We largely rely on our personal network and social media to get our news. Sure enough, I opened up Twitter to find that we in fact were in a state of emergency and people were beginning to evacuate.

In a matter of minutes, you have to decide what matters to you most and get out

To be completely honest, in that moment I was beyond scared. I had never experienced a hurricane. I had no idea what to do, where to go, or what to bring with me. As I began to pack, lift my belongings off the floor, make sure my house was secure; my mother telling me to “bring those things that you would be absolutely devastated to lose” was bouncing within my head. In the hour that I took to leave my house, how in the hell was I supposed to decide what was most important to me?

I decided that rather than ponder what to bring and to go through all of my things, I knew that the things that truly mattered most to me would pop into my mind instantaneously. The things that actually mattered to me would come to my mind automatically.

In the end, I took my diploma (no way that $40,000 piece of paper would get wet), my passport and checkbook, my expensive/sentimental jewelry like the watch I got at graduation and my grandmother’s necklace, and a few pieces of clothing. And Tommy Pickles, of course.

In retrospect, I regret not bringing more clothes or a blanket that my Grandmother knit for me. Which, I could sit here and think of all the things I could’ve done in that moment, but, the fact of the matter that these are all things. These things can be replaced. I can buy more clothes. I can find another apartment. If it does get to be that serious, I know that I have family and friends who will take me in. However, I can’t help but to think of the people that aren’t as lucky as I am. The ones that may not be able to afford a new place to live or a brand new wardrobe. The ones who have lost everything.

After the storm passed Saturday, the sun finally came out and my family went outside and got to work picking up debris from the streets and removing the shutters. We were so blessed that the worst thing that happened to us was that we didn’t have internet or cell phone service for a day. That night, we celebrated our survival with steak and wine. We are happy. We are alive.

Also, all photos in the post were taken by the talented Nevada Craig, check out her other photos on her website:

hurricane matthew charleston sc
Flooding in Downtown Charleston, SC. Photo taken by Nevada Craig

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