On the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, I am compelled to take a walk down memory lane and recap the lessons I learned after living through it and being displaced from my home for 5 months.
1. Don’t ignore your neighbors. Especially in urban settings, people tend to say hello to one another (sometimes) but don’t really become friendly. I learned that this was a mistake. When disaster struck, our Hoboken neighbors helped one another tremendously- sharing the news of what was happening by yelling it from house to house through open windows, lending lanterns and batteries, sharing food and water, charging flooded car batteries… the list goes on and on.
2. Don’t ignore your family- you might need to live in their house for five months one day (Thanks mom and dad)!
3. Appreciate what you have. Regardless of what you don’t like about your house or apartment, you will miss it dearly after you’ve spent five months living with family (see #2).
4. Write your address on your trash cans. They may end up floating many blocks away and someone just might return them to you.
5. Never underestimate a hot dog. The only thing better than eating a hot dog at a baseball game is eating a hot dog that your neighbor passed through your second floor bedroom window (from his adjacent balcony) after you’ve existed on only pretzels and granola bars for two days.
6. You will find that something good happens after something bad.
7. Weather forecasters can be accurate sometimes.
8. Keep your flood insurance up to date. Enough said.
9. Talk to strangers. Their kindness may surprise you. People we didn’t know at all, or just barely knew, helped in many ways.
10. Move to higher ground.