When Disaster Strikes at Home

This blog may be about my time in Hong Kong, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post about my hometown – New York.  Hong Kong’s news programs, both English and Chinese, show a good deal of international news, with news on the U.S. every single day — so the coming of Sandy was nothing new to me. But up until the storm, I, like friends in NY, had no idea what to expect.  After last year’s hurricane Irene came and went, and left most of NYC unscathed, one wouldn’t think that the worst storm in NYC’s history would be coming.

I didn’t think to worry until about a day or so before the storm, and e-mailed my family to take care and especially look after my granny.  When the storm was just breaking in the tri-state area, I was just waking up and heading for my regular Tuesday morning spin class.  I already saw numerous alarming Facebook posts that would make me feel nervous throughout the day.

I had about an hour’s time to escape into my sweat, but as soon as I got back to the locker room, I was checking my mobile device again for updates in the US.  The storm was about to hit landfall.

When I got to the office, I put on my favorite local radio station on my web browser to stream the live broadcast. I was completely glued to my headphones, and doing my best to focus on my work while I listened to live accounts of the storm.

In the coming days, I never missed the 7:30am broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Pearl.  It was my best means of learning what was going on. I listened to Mayor Mike’s accented Spanish, and heard the sorrow in Chris Christie’s voice as he surveyed the Jersey shore by helicopter. It would have been wonderful to enjoy what I heard was excellent coverage by NY1.

But I have to say it was social media that gave me the best “live” account of what was going on, what my friends and family were seeing and experiencing. I am grateful for this unofficial news outlet, and I’ve been more hooked on Facebook than ever, mainly looking for pictures and other notes on what is going on in NY.

Even though I am safe and dry in Hong Kong (ironically, it was very rainy in HK that morning Sandy hit the East Coast), complete with my modern comforts of electricity and internet, I am suffering as I worry about my family and friends back home, and wishing I could do something.

In the meantime, I’ve made my donation to the Red Cross and done my best to post useful links on my own facebook page.  I can’t imagine how I’d feel if a “man-made” disaster (e.g. 9/11) were unfolding back home while I was so far away.

But for now, I am again, incredibly grateful for all the media available to me to understand what is happening in NY, and glad to see that with each day, NY is recovering more and more.

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