I remember starting off last weekend feeling sorry for myself because I had to cancel my birthday trip to Austin with my boyfriend. We expected a storm, but what we got was something unimaginable. Friday, August 25, 2017, I drove to my boyfriend’s job at Costco to leave my car in parking garage over the weekend for fear of flooding and ride with him home. They offered him overtime due to the massive amount of people shopping in preparation for Harvey. I decided to be productive with my time while waiting so headed to Home Depot. The warehouse was packed with people purchasing supplies. I stood in one long line to get fifteen bags of sand, then stood in another just as long to pay for them. Before the storm even began, I saw glimpses of the unity that would soon be wonderfully displayed throughout the city. Workers at Home Depot loaded my sand bags onto a flat bed, a gentlemen seeing my petite self struggling to pull the weight of fifteen 60 lb bags to the front grabbed and pulled it to the front for me, after paying more home depot workers loaded my car, and even the maintence men at my apartments unloaded and stacked the sand bags outside the doors of my home for me. I had more time to spare and expected power outages so ran to the dollar store for candles. Even the dollar store was packed! I returned to Costco, left my car parked there and drove off with my boyfriend in his. He purchased cases of water and non perishable food from work; we stopped at his parents home as well as two other friends homes to deliver those items, then headed back to my place to settle in and prepare for this storm.
Friday night, not much happened. A little bit of rain, but nothing close to what was rumored to come. My boyfriend and I even went out and got sushi for dinner, though the restaurant closed early. I refuse to pay for cable that won’t be used in my house, so used a small antenna that only showed ABC 13. That was good enough to keep us updated on Harvey. Here it was, Saturday, the 26th, and like a thief in the night, Harvey snuck in and hit us hard nonstop throughout the night. The amount of rain we were receiving was breathtaking. Restless, I continued watching the news as my boyfriend fell into a peaceful slumber. Another hour passes and I am in dire need of filling my mind with something aside from the uncontrollable weather so I pop in a movie. Afterwards, I forced myself to turn off the tv and attempt sleep.
Sunday, August 27, 2017, my twenty-eighth birthday which will never be forgotten. We woke up, and before getting out of bed, turned the local news back on. My heart sunk. We watched in horror for hours upon hours of news showing the devastating results of this massive storm. Oh the tremendous damage that was caused in just one night. Bayous full and some over flowing. Streets that had become rivers and houses disappearing with nothing to be seen but the rooftops. I picked up my phone and called my sister. She said that water had flooded her kids playroom and was a foot away from entering their newly purchased home. I called my father but received no answer. A little later he sent me a message with nothing but a single picture of what appeared to be a lake where his neighborhood is. Water had entered his home. The rain continued though it definitely wasn’t anything like the night before. We walked downstairs to see water nearly covering my living room floor. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been had I not purchased those sand bags. I put on my rain boots and a jacket and we walked out the door to take a look at the status of my apartments. The pool was over its brim, cars parked on curbs to try to avoid flooding, and water everywhere. So much water.
It has now been a little over a week since Hurricane Harvey hit our city. Houston was underwater, and numberless amounts of people lost so much; from their cars, to their homes, and some even their lives. Hearts were shattered as Houstonians climbed into rescue boats with next to nothing to their names but the clothes on their backs and , if lucky enough, a small backpack. The National Guard was called to come do search and rescues in Houston and the cities affected around them. My brother left to meet up with his unit and is still out there giving his service unlikely to come home for the next couple of weeks. A good amount of the water has now receded enough to fully assess the damages. Houston has come together as one to help in any way possible. Shelters opened and donations are being given without hesitation. I have friends that have to completely start over, but my family and I were truly blessed. Yes, we may have dealt with a little bit of water, but when asked about how we were affected by Harvey, we can respond with a heavy but grateful heart saying “not nearly as bad as others”. Houston has shown everyone how strong we are while recovering from this and I could not be more proud to call this city my home.