We’ve been hearing about Sandy, aka ‘Frankenstorm’ for a while; warnings, tips on how to keep safe and survive the worst…etc. But the awesomeness of Canada is the fact that people didn’t really process the magnitude of what could’ve been a horrible natural catastrophe until last evening, before the unwanted guest arrived that is, due to many reasons. One reason is that people here are used to rough weather conditions, even immigrants who landed a few years ago no longer freak out when they see/hear the term: “severe- weather- alert”. Another reason would be the fact that some people don’t know the first thing about hurricanes, tornadoes, or such deadly beasts of nature; their ignorance serves them well as it automatically switches off any fear or even alertness buttons in their brains and this means they either don’t give a damn what would happen, or they were so excited and looking forward to witnessing their 1st deadly storm ever . I can assure you though, that most people belonging to either group changed their minds once they saw what happened in the US, and panicked even more when they heard about the 1st death case caused by Sandy in Toronto as a woman was killed by flying debris. And that’s when most of GTA neighborhoods started to turn into ghost-towns. But before that, I believe most people were just turning the whole thing into a shopping spree: 1st aid kits, flashlights, candles, matches, water bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, duct tape… some even bought tents (I’m guessing they belong to the 2nd group I was talking about).
One of the funniest things I heard yesterday afternoon was one of my neighbors explaining ‘Sandy’ to her kids and saying: “so, what I’m trying to say is, this is when all your crappy glow-in-the-dark stuff comes in handy”.
From our side of the building you can see Toronto city -usually clearly- so when we heard about the power cuts and saw the lights go off we started to freak out a bit I must admit, especially when we learned from TV & Twitter that sirens were constantly sounding in downtown Toronto to urge people to seek shelter as Sandy actually arrived. That’s when I also learned that among all this madness some people were actually complaining about home delivery services stopping “until further notice”.
Back to our building, in it you could easily tell who’s a new-comer and who isn’t, simply by looking through your window. When you see family members sticking their hands & faces onto the cold window glass trying to capture it all live in action you know they’re new-comers, the longer they stay still in this position, the newer to the country they are, because those who are here for a while know better than being so close to what could be a direct cause of death.
Another sign to distinguish new-comers from the rest is that they tend to turn disaster-times into little gatherings/house-parties. Table full of yummy finger-foods, snacks, tea/coffee/pop and everyone is watching live-news and making long-distance calls exaggerating things to make their relatives & loved ones worried sick and think they’re brave heroes facing THE STORM 🙂
Kids were hoping Sandy would be more fierce and would stay longer to have the day off of course. They were all let down when they woke up to what turned out to be a beautiful morning… Passing by a few scattered street & restaurant signs on the way to the school bus stop they were all giving their parents the “puppy-face” look in a last attempt to try to skip school: “but the storm knocked the signs down to the ground, we no longer know the right direction, it’s not safe” they’d say, and before they get the parents’ reaction they’d point to a broken sign on the sidewalk and shout: “check this out, cooooooool”.
Anyway nice weather didn’t last for long; it turned a bit crazy at noon, colder than the morning, more wet, so darn foggy. Now things are getting back to normal I guess. So no need to worry about us, in case you did in the first place!
With all this madness going on, one can’t but respect the Canadian spirit and positivity. On the streets people are all happy Sandy didn’t mess much with Canada, they’re trying to clean up after the storm with smiles on their faces. On Twitter some are tweeting how happy they are the tree didn’t fall on their car/ house instead of focusing on the chaos it left behind.
I leave you with some photos of the super storm as it passed by Southern Ontario.