Helpless during a hurricane  


Submitted Photo

Fallen trees because of Hurricane Irma in front Perera’s sister’s house in Miami, Fla on Monday, Sept. 11.

Jaynell Perera, Columnist

As most of you may know, I transferred to Eastern from Miami, Fla. Just like most people that go out of state for college, I had to give up a lot to make the move up here.

I left my family. I left my friends. I left my dog, Vienna. I left my home. That may sound incredibly dramatic, but it’s not. It is terrifying and I cannot help but feel helpless. I am 1,203 miles away from home.

I have always lived with my parents, and now that I am alone in another state, I am petrified. I have always tried to be independent and sustain myself. I know how to cook, I know how to clean and I know how to do laundry. I know how to be alone. But it’s different being alone so far away.

Moving away is not all it is cracked up to be. It is really lonely. I am lucky enough to have been paired with cool roommates who are very supportive, but it still does not compare to what being back in Miami makes me feel like.

Back home, I know where everything is located. For example, when I have to go shop for something, I know where to go. Up here in Charleston, I am only familiar with the boundaries of the Panther Shuttle route because I did not bring up my car.

I am sure everyone has heard the news of Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida this weekend. It made landfall late Saturday night.

After seeing the media coverage of the category four Hurricane Harvey which hit Texas in late August, I was petrified of what the damage could be, as this was a storm just as severe as Harvey and category five Hurricane Andrew in Miami back in 1992.

Throughout the early hours of the hurricane, I was communicating with my parents, but there reached a point when my messages would not send and my calls would not go through.

All I wanted to do was hear their voices and I could not.

As I am typing up this article, I am crying on the phone speaking to my family members. This is the first time I hear their voices in over 12 hours. I can finally breathe, because I felt like I was being suffocated this weekend by not speaking to them.

Fallen trees because of Hurricane Irma in front Perera's sister's house in Miami, Fla on Monday, Sept. 11.
Fallen trees because of Hurricane Irma in front Perera’s sister’s house in Miami, Fla on Monday, Sept. 11.

I have experienced a few hurricanes in my life, but nothing like Hurricane Irma.

My parents lost power on Sunday afternoon and they still do not have their power back on. According to Florida Power & Light, residents in Miami-Dade County will not have power for a few days or even weeks, due to severe damage done to electric poles.

People ravaged stores trying to stock up on supplies the week before the storm. But since they were in such high demand, they quickly ran out of a lot of necessary items. Thankfully, most of my loved ones bought everything that they needed to sustain themselves for a few days after the hurricane.

I just pray and thank God that the damage was small. There were a few trees and plants knocked down in my street and a part of the fence in my backyard was ripped off.

My 93-year-old grandma was not so lucky.

Her apartment was inundated with a few inches of water. The damage was minimal, but I just wish I could be there with her.

I cannot even begin to describe what I felt inside this weekend. I was just torn and empty. All I wanted was to be home with my family and I could not.

I lost so much sleep because I could not hear back from my family back home. Flights were absolutely outrageous and I did not care what it would have cost me to go back home. I was willing to pay for it, if it was not for the fact that the airports were closed.

It is completely devastating to see all the photos and videos of the aftermath of the hurricane. Since I was born and raised in Florida, it is sad seeing my home state as it is now. But I know my people, we will get through this.

Jaynell Perera is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]