Growing up in Brazil we were always proud that it's a country not very prone to natural disasters. Nowadays I wouldn't say that it's still the case since it's been having lots of floods in different parts of the country. And in the North it has always been very very dry, desert like dry where you can not find water for months and months. With climate change, things haven't been the same anywhere in the world, as we all know. Human disasters on the other hand, Brazil is full of, starting with the politicians, but I won't even go there. Since leaving Brazil I've been through:
- Snow storm: WV, VA, to the point of getting stranded at home for days.
- Tornadoes: In VA, to the point of not having power at home.
- Hurricanes: In SC, I had to evacuate Myrtle Beach, due to hurricane Bonnie, I don't think I will ever forget that name. I was so scared, it was my first ever hurricane and the city got evacuated. I packed everything I owned, including my stereo, ha, ha, ha. Mind you, I lived across from the beach on a wooden house, I was not about to leave my most valuable possession behind. Driving to Columbia I felt like part of a movie ("Independence Day" anyone?), the traffic lights were dangling from side to side, the traffic was a nightmare because EVERYONE was evacuating and going the same direction (inland).
- Earthquakes: A small one in London - not a great feeling as I had just come home from the pub and I only found out it was actually an earthquake the next day. I thought at first that it was a side effect... of the beer.
- Monsoon: In AZ, every summer, there are floods, dust storms, fires.
Every year natural disasters bring a lot of damage and heartache to people all over the world, but it's nature, there is hardly anything that we can do about it, when it happens it happens. Now a human disaster, that is the one that I can't understand. It usually happens when someone (s) has very bad intentions, when someone is bad spirited and only wants to ruin other people's lives. My mind and soul can't understand these actions. And to be honest I don't want to understand them.
Human disasters I've been through:
- 9/11: I was working in a hotel in VA when it happened. We were highly affected (as so many other people in the country), someone in the hotel I worked at lost family members and another woman who worked with me couldn't get hold of her husband, not sure for how long. He was a contractor in the Pentagon, turns out he was fine, but they were some very long hours for her. Another person that worked with me was driving on rt 1 when he actually saw the plane passing behind him, then there was the explosion. So many stories, that we would hear day after day about it.
- The Virginia sniper: In late 2002, 2 crazy guys decided that they'd start shooting random people in the beltway area, meaning, VA, MD and DC. They'd 1 person and disappear. There was one shooting at a supermarket that I used to go to, I mean, everyone was freaking out! At that time, I was a hostess in a restaurant, and no one wanted to seat by the windows or outside. Who could blame them? I didn't want to go outside. I remember walking to a flower shop from where I lived and they had mentioned on the news about a white van. Seriously, if you've ever been to the US, you know that white vans are a thing. They're everywhere! I almost died of panic, I was running, not walking. Finally they caught them, it was such a relief to everyone.
- Now, we have the Phoenix sniper!! Someone is shooting cars on the I10 freeway. Cars are driving home or to work and they get shot. Seriously. It's been 11 days and there has been 10 cars shot. No one can spot him/her/them, no one has a clue what is going on. I heard the term domestic terrorism and serial sniper already. I mean, people just can't stay home, they need to work, they need to go to school, and this person is targeting cars in one of the busiest highways in Phoenix. Lucky no one has gotten hurt yet and let's home this maniac will get caught before he hurts someone badly.
These have all been experiences for my book of life. My story, the one that only I can tell. Although these events weren't pleasant, they happened and I've seen people coming together to help each other, the events are bad, but it brings the good in people. And for that, I'm grateful.