But no amount planning could have prepared me for what was going to happen the weekend after orientation. A category 4 Hurricane (quite uninvitedly) hit our coast and caused devastation 200 miles south. Our first 2 days of classes were cancelled, then the whole week was cancelled, then after Harvey died down to a tropical storm, classes were resumed as our administrators assumed we were out of the waters. My kids 'daycare was still closed, so I slightly panicked as I tried to find childcare for the week. There was no need to panic, I have lots of back ups. I'm still learning to stay cool.
But the admin spoke too soon. The city that I have called home was drowned overnight in what is being called catastrophic, historic flooding. All of a sudden my plans didn't matter. I watched on Facebook live feeds as friends of mine were rescued from their houses that had become an island surrounded by water. I watched a local news crew drive through the streets near my house, near my kids' old daycare, in a boat. I watched the roads I take regularly become rivers. Addresses of people who needed rescue kept popping up on my Next-door and Facebook feed. Businesses were lost. Homes were lost. Lives were lost.
I also saw a tremendous outpouring as locals responded to a call for help. People brought their boats to help with the rescue efforts. Impromptu shelters have popped up all over town. Donations are being brought. Neighbors are offering their homes to those who have lost. My neighbor across the street went out in a row boat, rescuing elderly a few blocks away who were trapped in flooded homes. Those of us who were safe helped coordinate boats to pick up those who were stranded. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana even showed up immediately. Many friends of mine, including my kids' dad, are on day 3 of 4, or 5 working in the hospitals, or as first responders. My old coworkers are evacuating the hospital where I learned to be a nurse. They are strong, and resilient. They are flexible and moldable. I could use a few lessons from them.
It's still raining here, it's not over. Evacuations and rescues are still taking place. For now, I am safe at my mom's house, an hour away from Houston. The tots are enjoying their time with grandma and grandpa. My sister is stuck in her apartment, but stocked up on chips and water for a week. Our home in Houston didn't take in water, and my apartment in Galveston is fine. I have no idea what is going to happen next. I don't know when the rain will stop, when my classes will start, who will watch my kids, if they are going to try to shove 8 weeks of Gross Anatomy and Radiology down our throats in 7 weeks, or if they are going to take away our Christmas break to make up for it. It doesn't matter. It only matters that my city and surrounding areas stay safe, and soon we will come together to rebuild and restrengthen. I'll be getting a sledge hammer to help with rebuilding, and I'm sure I'll still be singing "Just keep swimming" when I start knocking down walls. It seems like an appropriate song.