Today is a bittersweet day for us at Life By Olivia. It’s a holiday in The Bahamas but no one feels like celebrating. We managed to survive the hurricane but some people weren’t so fortunate. Along with excessive flooding, there are some people on the island who lost their roof, their cars and their entire home. We saw mass panic as persons flooded and swarmed the gas stations buying sometimes $10 at a time into their fuel containers in fear of there being no fuel or not being able to make it safely to home or work. Gas stations actually ran out of gas and the average wait time was anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Reports of even greater damage are still coming in from the other islands. Many homes are still without power (we went three days) and some don’t have running water either. The damage was even worse in the other Caribbean countries that Hurricane Matthew hit. Haiti has a death toll of at least 800, which they expect to rise more. We are praying for solutions to everyone affected by this storm.
On a brighter note, we saw sparks of hope with persons providing relief items and clean up during the aftermath, and even brotherly love during the hurricane itself.
Mechelle: Although my home suffered damages that have to be addressed and an assessment of lost items and electronics were done , I am happy to say that I have experienced the pleasant, hopefully and bonding aspect of the natural disaster. After evacuating our home, my husband and I spent Matthew’s duration with relatives who were nothing less than hospitable and nurturing. In a house of 13, it’s easy to lose your way or grow weary during the long hours of no power, small kids vying for attention or lacking your own ‘space’. But this paled in comparison to the home cooked meals on a gas stove/oven that was whipped up without complaint and was more than enough to feed us all, at least twice per day. I loved snacking on roasted vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potatoes, coconut water and V8. There were old island stories shared, moments outside by the pool, impromptu group games (Name game anyone?) and Guitar lessons. There were certainly more smiles than frowns and at the end of it all, we exuded gratefulness. Grateful for life, food, family, shelter, hope and receiving the all clear. I too am grateful for my second family: my friends, who shared no negativity and always highlighted the silver lining throughout this experience. It may have seemed like the longest most uncertain moment of our lives at that time but we made it through wholly.
Olivia: One of the best ways that we prepared for the storm was by getting snacks. I was happy to snack on Cheetos, ramen noodles and Crystal Bay. Our water stayed frozen for two whole days in the freezer so we were really grateful for that. For me, our roof was damaged by a neighbours aluminium shutters that came loose at the beginning of the storm flew over two houses, hit our roof and then landed in our next door neighbours’ yard. It was a scary moment especially when my mum’s bedroom and bathroom ceiling began leaking. Even scarier was realising that my neighbours’ three year old daughter with Down Syndrome is still on a feeding tube, and with no power for three days, the machine now needed to recharge. I was complaining about not having a fan blowing on me, while they were literally in a life or death situation. So we were really grateful when the power was restore at 3:04 the following morning. For four days I slept on the couch because I just couldn’t bear the heat in my room. During the day we either sat outside in the garage or took a drive just to see something other than our four walls. Some trips were made at two in the morning just so we could cool down enough to sleep. My most exciting excursion was going to Home Fabrics, the local craft store and looking at the Halloween decorations and costumes. I got a lot of inspiration and I can’t wait to start some new projects. I went to church yesterday and there were less than 25 people (not counting the volunteers). I was so grateful to be unharmed that I had to give thanks and see if there was anything I could do to help anyone else.
Now that the worst of Hurricane Matthew is behind us (at least impact wise), it's time for us to assess and share our current situations.
CURRENTLY – MECHELLE
Reading: The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais. An engaging crime thriller lent by a good friend. Thanks Hun!
Loving: I am lovin’ this bar of Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter. I’ve always seen it in the dairy aisle but never purchased it. Constantly thinking: ‘I can make that, so why buy it?’ ‘It probably won’t taste fresh or earthy.’ Boy was I mistaken. Found in a slender 3.5 ounce size and wrapped in the signature gold paper, my husband picked it up and thought it would provide more flavour to our dishes without the hassle of dicing and prepping ingredients. I tried it out on a roasted pumpkin that I had quartered and deskinned after cooking. It.was.DIVINE. I was pleasantly surprised at the burst of flavour and even more so at the list of green herbs including Dill, Thyme, Chives, Parsley. I also used it on the top layer of the turkey and cheese panini and it accented it nicely with a golden brown effect. If you normally cook with butter or even use it as an accent (toast, bagels, crostini, etc.), I would recommend you try it!
Planning: I’m planning to create a life size Vision Board. I was reminded of the depth of it during a seminar last week and want to take my mini paper version and make it life size
Anticipating: I’m anticipating trying numerous lipstick swatches at the local MAC store. I saw some nice shades on YouTube and would like to see if they’re just as fun and functional in person ;). I’m thinking shades like Heroine, Viva La Glam and MAC Red.
CURRENTLY – OLIVIA
Reading: I downloaded a series just before the Hurricane hit called The Girl in The Box. I’m not head over heels in love with it, but so far I’ve finished the first book so I might as well finish the series. I’m also reading a book called Best Supporting Role by Sue Margolis. Another book I’m not head over heels in love with it, but I’ll finish it eventually. I’m really picky with my books.
Loving: I’m loving the support I’ve seen since the storm hit. After our roof was hit, a random neighbour didn’t even wait for the all clear, he grabbed his ladder, a tarp and some nails and started patching our roof. A friend at church offered to give people ice if anyone needed them. Seeing that kind of support really made me feel better about the current state of things.
Planning: I’m super excited to plan new Fall-themed recipes for you guys and already have a few lined up to try out. Including Halloween Bark that I plan on giving out at Trunk or Treat!
Anticipating: I can’t wait for two things this month! Trunk-or-Treat at the end of the month at church and the VIVA women’s conference the week before that. I can’t wait to share my experience with those!
The aftermath continues and recovery will honestly take more than a few days but I am taking it day by day, with positivity in my corner.
Share your story with us. What impact has this experience had on you? Did you receive support from family and friends? Were you able to help others?