By our editorial member julia riegler
Volkach/staten island – this is certainly not how johanna had imagined her stay in new york – but what german teenager can do that?? The dimensions that natural disasters have assumed in recent years, especially in the USA, are completely unknown to the volkacherin. "We spent the whole first day in the house, you couldn't go outside", the schoolgirl remembers the 29th day. October, on the hurricane "sandy" the storm really swept over the state on the eastern seaboard. "But it didn't really start until the evening. At 9 pm the power went out – good thing we had a gas stove."
A picture of desolation
Johanna was traveling with her fubball team in pennsylvania when she heard that "sandy" on the way. The university campus was already completely evacuated when the athletes returned there. "All those who could, were then asked to leave the campus. 60 people then had to sleep in a gymnasium." Johanna was lucky and found shelter with an uncle in staten island. Only on tuesday did she dare to leave the house again – and found a picture of devastation. "We found out that we were really lucky, because many trees were down or even uprooted", she describes her impressions. "It was very strange because we had no idea what was going on – there was still no electricity." Only one day later she could give the all-clear at home in volkach. By then the uncle's house had become really crowded: her cousin from the city had fled to the suburb with her husband – there the situation was even more aggravated, so without electricity and also without water. "We passed the time with card games."
Cell phone and laptop charging
By the evening, the power lines had been restored to the point where households could be supplied with electricity. "We started watching the news and realized how dependent we really are on technology." And more visitors came: two friends wanted to charge their laptops and cell phones.
In the meantime, the situation has calmed down again and the cleanup work is in full swing. "There are still quite a few trees, ashes and leaves lying around", tells johanna. "Many people still do not have electricity." And that could last until thanksgiving, she guesses. There will probably be one or the other truthahn less served… To make matters worse, 20 centimeters of snow fell on top of that. "I like snow. But especially the people whose houses were destroyed, I really felt sorry for them."
Declaration of love to home
So most americans had no choice but to save money – even on gasoline. "Sometimes there were hundreds of cars waiting at the few open gas stations and the drivers waited up to three hours until they could refuel their cars."
In the meantime, everyday life has returned – at least for johanna. "This week, a few more hours were lost, but normality is returning."Now johanna can look forward to her visit home to germany without any worries. Four weeks to go until the flight home. "I really miss my family and my friends", she admits – the confusion surrounding hurricane sandy has only made her more aware of it.