Now, coming from California, the earthquake was familiar and not especially exciting. But a hurricane - this is something we've only every got to see on TV and in news reports. And unlike an earthquake - you can prepare for it.
On Friday, we got a lot of information on how to prepare. My employer sent emails with lots of information on how to prepare; our housing company sent information on how to prepare; and of course we got lots of advice on how to prepare from our friends here who have lived through hurricanes before. And in Portuguese language training, we got to learn a new word: furacão. (And of course it didn't stop our field trip to the churrascaria!)
That night we had some good friends from Berkeley come over. We grilled pizzas on the BBQ's outside and enjoyed that last bit of good weather before the storm. It was great to catch up and have a visit from home!
A lovely rainbow over Oakwood on Friday night!
Saturday was supposed to be hurricane day. Since we would be home-bound, we planned a day of watching movies, playing games. K. made a big pot of yummy chili and we settled in for the storm.
We waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. I kept looking at the window to make sure I wasn't missing the hurricane. Every time there was a bit of wind - O. said "Mommy - I think that's the hurricane." It rained on and off - but never as hard and thick as it's been this summer during the thunderstorms. And while the wind gusted and blew the trees around, it never felt particularly strong - we would go out on the balcony and watch and hold our hands out to feel the raindrops.
That night after we went to bed, the wind picked up a bit. I could hear it really blowing the trees and at some point I heard a big crack. The next morning, the crew was up early (7 AM!!!) with a chain saw cutting up the big branch that had come off a tree from the parking lot.
We were pretty lucky where we were. Most of damage from Hurricane Irene was on the coast. In our area of Virginia, there were just some downed trees.
On Sunday we hiked on Theodore Roosevelt Island and checked out the damage from the hurricane. It was beautiful after the storm, but there were a number of downed trees on the island. But we still had fun exploring!
Here's what N. wrote about our hike:
I stepped out of the car into the wet and moist air with my long striped pants. My hot pink shirt is covered up by my Disneyland rain jacket. I walked to the bridge on a sandy path right next to the water. When I got to the gray concrete bridge, I looked down and saw the green water. There were little ripples in the water that seemed to be going right. I slowly walked across the bridge and toward the little island.