Fortunately power was restored back at our place, 5 days after Sandy came and wiped lower Manhattan of its power. We’re definitely very lucky in that respect. Out of the 5 days without power, we spent 2 nights at M’s house where I got to experience how a ‘typical’ nuclear American family lived. It was very eye-opening, how our cultures are similar yet so different. I felt like a foreign exchange student living in someone else’s home. 😀
Top 3 things I found interesting: (And I don’t think anything is fundamentally right or wrong, I’m just highlighting the difference)
Firstly, Americans talk to their kids as if they were adults. In Singapore we usually talk in imperatives to kids. For example: ‘Wear these boots so you don’t get a cold’. In the household I was in, they asked the two-year old, ‘What would you like to wear to go to the park? And when he suggests shoes for summer, they will ask him again and politely suggest wearing more suitable shoes for the cold weather. I think in Singapore, its more like: ‘Wear the boots and not the crocs!’
Secondly, American mothers sock my socks. Even being 5/6 months pregnant with a 2-year-old in tow, they provision the house and take care of a toddler almost all by herself. And apparently that’s how its done unless you’re super rich. They also live on the 3rd floor, can you imagine going out to get groceries, carrying a load of groceries up 3 floors all with a little boy in tow? It made me feel very spoilt. *with no car FYI, had to walk!*
3. Lastly, Americans avoid going to a doctor unless necessary I think in Singapore, even with flu and fever we will need to go to the doctor to get an ‘ medical certificate’, because we can’t just email/call in a sick day without ‘proof’. Yes I know how that sounds.
We’re very grateful for their generosity in offering us shelter when we’re in need. People in cities are often cramped in small 1/2 bedroom apartments and we’re very thankful that they were willing to inconvenience themselves by having two extra people sleeping in their living room and intruding into their private space. Having my own space is very important to me so I really appreciate their kindness. We checked hotels and the ones that were left were like 599USD, say WHAT????
Oh wow, that took longer than I intended too.
We came back home and emptied our rotting fridge which was not very fun, but we cannot complain because so many people had it so much worse. So we decided to be thankful and made that our annual spring cleaning at the beevers-lin household! I discovered the wonders of baking soda and distilled vinegar and it made my kitchen and toilet SPARKLE!!!!!!
Over the weekend, we tried to go get groceries around lower Manhattan but nothing was really opened. We eventually hiked up to Union Square to visit my favourite Trader Joe’s! After which we decided to survey our area. Lower Manhattan wasn’t completely totalled but you could certainty see the aftermath of the hurricane.
Sunday morning outside the AT&T shop. It was flooded inside and cell phones are all destroyed on the floor.
Saturday Night: Car windshield smashed, sandbags lying around and tree fallen on the pavement
Sat night: Picture of Kris at wall street with a head lamp because the lights were out.
I didn’t end up talking much pictures in the night because most of the street lamps were not functioning. There was just this cold and almost eerie ‘silence’ in lower Manhattan.
In the day, I didn’t take much photos because I was using my hands to cover my gaping mouth that was open in shock. 2nd floor glass windows were shattered at various buildings, Duane Reade had their bottom 3 shelves empty, indicating the water line that had flooded the store, Au Bon pain had their store completely in a mess, almost all the first floor stores were shut or workers were desperately trying to clear the mess that the flood had caused. In basements, trucks with hoses were busy pumping out water, traffic lights were not working in most areas. It was just mind-blowing. I have never seen so many Con Edison trucks in lower Manhattan either. Its messy but it seems like everyone is trying to get back into business, for a good reason too because rent is crazy everywhere in Manhattan.
Things got a little normal on Monday and Tuesday and I went uptown for Pilates and some grocery shopping at the super market. Pilates was very fun and I discovered I have no abdominal muscles whatsoever! Need to change that.
At the grocery stall I met a lady with a super adorable baby and started chatting with her. After 20 minutes of talking about the hurricane and what-nots (I knew the hurricane will give me a common topic with this strange Americans!), she asked if I wanted to be her nanny 3 times a week! I probably would have said yes, but she wanted me to commit to Jan 2013 when she starts work and thats the time I’ll be in Singapore waiting for my interview. So that’s that! I love kids tho, so maybe I shall baby sit when I next come back instead of finding a proper job! Or baby sit and save till I can afford grad school! *ting ting ting* (That’s the sound of my thinking lightbulb)
So the long and short of it, lower Manhattan is slowly but surely recovering!
To top the cherry on the cake, a Nor’easter is apparently headed its way to NYC and NJ on the 7th of Nov. Remind me again why I decided to migrate from safe, sunny and disaster free Singapore to a country plagued with natural disasters!!!!!
It must be for the online shopping!! Wahaahahahaaaa
Poor Kristopher! Just kidding laaaaaaaa! *pats pats*