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Our couch, sitting outside amongst the rest of our home’s discarded things as we attempt to clean our apartment after Hurricane Sandy.

Three and a half feet of water entered our home on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

We hadn’t prepared enough.  No amount preparation, apart from completely moving out, could have readied us for the amount of damage Hurricane Sandy caused to our home.  Tidal surges washed over the countertops, crept into our bedroom, soaked through our clothing and ruined our furniture.  Dirty, salty sea stuff is everywhere.  It takes days to clean it all off.

We’ve lost almost everything.  The clothing was washed, the kitchenwares rinsed off and what few pieces of furniture that weren’t destroyed are currently airing out in the backyard.  The flood decimated my journals, containing notes from my travels to Ghana, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ireland.  Hopefully they will be restored enough for me to type them up before throwing them into the trash.  I’ve had to make calls for replacement items, simple things you’d never think of like textbooks for graduate school, medicine, makeup and DVDS.

There is no electricity, gas or hot water at our apartment.  Until those come back on, we can’t go back home.  The companies of Freeport, Long Island have been working tirelessly to restore normalcy, but some of them say we won’t have basic amenities until the middle of this week.  We’re living out of boxes, garbage bags, vagabonding between friends apartments and relatives with extra room.   Although we have been working nonstop to restore the apartment that once was, it is going to be a long time until we can move back in.

Essentially, Tom and I are homeless.

Outside the Bagel Dock Cafe on Ray Street, Freeport NY

But there is hope, at least for us.  The damage for us is not as severe as some, and we are lucky to have friends and family to help us in the interim.  Not everyone on Long Island was so lucky, however.  Some waterfront homes were swept into the tide and cease to exist.  Others are filled with sand from insane beach erosion and granular movements within the past week.  There are many without power or heat, who shiver through the cold nights wondering when this cruel joke will end and they can get back to their normal lives.  Lines for gasoline increase daily, and there is still uncertainty for many as to when they can go back to work.

I’ve sought change for quite some time.  I believe this is fate’s way of saying “now is your chance” and that I can only go up from here.  Purging the unnecessary was cleansing.  That apartment was never made for me and him anyway, and it will certainly never feel the same again.  So why else would the world have completely swept away a life I had before?

To replace it with a new one.

New home, new things, new outlook on life.  I am ever so grateful for the things that I still have, for the opportunities which are about to come, and for the people in my life who, like me, will never give up.