Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Date with Sandy - Hurricane Sandy

Our trip to NYC had been planned for months, and we were excited. Unfortunately, we weren't the only out-of-towners headed for the eastern seaboard. A certain hurricane by the name of Sandy was right behind us.

At 36,000 feet, Mimi didn't fret over the chance of high winds. Instead, as her father languished in coach, Mimi tossed back a few cocktails with her mother up in business class...
...and finished them off with a private DVD viewing of Pixar's "Cars." 
It'd been over a year since we were last in New York. Mimi wasted no time. She immediately made friends with Harry, her grandparents sheltie. Readers of this blog may remember that the original Harry passed away shortly after we left New York. This Harry was quite a bit younger (only about a year old) and I don't think Mimi noticed the difference. Makes me a bit worried if Sumie should consider replacing me in the future!
We arrived on a Friday evening and, knowing the storm was headed our way, left early Saturday to hit Manhattan. Mimi was all excited about riding the trains, but one of them came by the station full-speed, which startled our little girl who is used to Thomas and Friends speeds and the even slower rate of SF Muni transit. Thankfully, Ojichan was there to comfort her.
We had an amazing time in Manhattan that Saturday. Too much to share in this post, but in summary, we had a fantastic meal at our friend's restaurant, The Breslin, and walked the Highline, a rare New York first for us. We immediately felt at home. Even Mimi. Within moments of hitting the streets Mimi was chatting about "So many taxis!" A few minutes after that, the hustle and bustle of her hometown lulled Mimi into a stroller nap. Sumie and I were shocked. This girl never naps in her stroller. But then again, she is a native New Yorker. After waking, she continued to prove her New York credentials by taking down an entire slice of pizza!
Sunday was quiet. We borrowed the car and drove into the city to check on our apartment (believe it or not, I'd sincerely missed driving in Manhattan) and then went out to Queens to meet some friends for dinner at their house. Their daughter, Miwa, made instant friends with Mimi, thanks, in part, to Miwa's kind and patient nature. Mimi was making the most of being surrounded by new toys!
By the time we left Queens that Sunday night, the wind was really starting to pick up.  We spent Monday morning watching the storm come in.
We lost power around 4pm on Monday. It didn't come back for ten days, long after we departed New York. On Monday and Tuesday, as the storm raged, we listened to the radio for updates, sparingly checked the news on our iPhones (no way of charging them), and made the most of all the food in the fridge that would spoil. Our meals, though cooked in the dark, were delicious and plentiful.

On Wednesday morning, the day were were set to leave, Mimi and I walked out to survey the damage. Beyond losing power, we'd made it through relatively unscathed. Mimi tackled the slide in the backyard in the crisp sunshine...
...went for a drive amongst the fallen leaves...
 ...and smiled at the sun on the swings. 
Though our trip turned out to not be much of a vacation, we came home feeling blessed. For so many this was a tragic storm. For us it was a bit of inconvenience, but also an amazing time with family. The dark didn't phase Mimi. As she played flashlights in the evening gloom, she bonded with her Japanese grandparents, and Harrychan, in a way she'd never experienced when we lived just a few minutes away. 
As we landed back in San Francisco, our scheduled flight just happening to be one of the first to depart JFK after the storm, Sumie and I looked at each other and were thankful for all the new memories Mimi made with her family. It wasn't much of a vacation, but it was a memorable and important trip.

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