My Hurricane Maria Story: Elizabeth Garrett

A Little About Me/Us

I lived through Maria in Carolina and Hato Rey but I am from Detroit, Michigan. I am 24.  I was living with a friend at the time.  I have lived in PR two years.

Here is an excerpt:

Good afternoon. September 20, 2017, Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico. I moved to Carolina, a town outside the island's capital, San Juan, in April 2017. I had just started hanging out with this guy “Ramon” and had also just been "fired" from my job for “having a bad attitude.” The lease on my apartment in Carolina was set to be up October 12. After María, I didn't have electricity, internet, data on my
phone (lol actually did not have data before the hurricane either),
phone SIGNAL, or running water. I didn't have a car and neither did
Ramon. I lived in a house that I shared with an older woman, Ramon
lived in a second floor apartment he shared with his cousin. During
Hurricane Irma (two weeks before María) I was alone in my
apartment but I decided to spend María with Ramon. Here are the
journals that I kept.

DÍA 1

Lol so this afternoon I ate an edible before I left my house in Carolina
and got apparently the last Uber on Earth to Ramon's house in Hato
Rey before María hit. Everything was super quiet, no cars on the
freeway. I got to Ramon's house and called my parents like
"hurricane is coming, I'm probably going to be out of contact for the
next twelve hours." I brought tor^llas and hummus and a book for
hurricane snacks (for the belly and the mind ). It was kind of exci^ng
at first? The power went out but we had candles cuz it was nighOme
by then. I was scared lol we could hear stuff banging around outside
and the wind was blowing VERY LOUD. Ramon had to go out and put
the tormenteras in again during/at the beginning of the storm
because his cousin had put them in upside down/backwards. A lot of
rain got in the house because we are stupid and left the window
cracked for a nice breeze. Like an inch of water on the floor through
the whole apartment from all the cracks under the doors and
windows.

We tried to sleep through the night but it was so loud. When the
banging around and wind stopped we stood on the toilet to look out
the window and it seemed like everything was finished. The sun was
out at that point and it felt like morning but it was really four in the
afternoon and the sky was just now getting light from after the storm,
so we went out on the balcony to look around. It felt like the world
was different. We kept noticing things and being like omg look at
that! Like Christmas morning but bad lol.

We were looking at branches and trees on the ground and then we looked up and saw 3 buildings in the distance fucked up, and the metal barriers up on the
train tracks had all been destroyed and it was like whoa whoa whoa how is this possible??? Metal is supposed to be strong?? Not trying to exaggerate but it was really bad!! We came down the stairs from the apartment and there were so many palm tree branches and leaves in the streets. It was cold and raining, so cold we had to wear jackets. There were a lot of people walking around looking at everything. Some streets we couldn't even walk down because there
were so many big trees blocking them. All the lights were out and a lot of traffic lights had fallen on the ground. The people driving in cars were driving slow slow looking at the damage and some people were going out to drag branches out of the street. We could see
broken windows in the skyscrapers from super far away. We brought
Valentino the dog with us and he made everyone happy. I tried to call
my parents but there was no cell service at all, neither of our phones
are working. The water is also off/not working?? The hurricane is
over though, we survived. We walked back home and at night we ate
fat club sandwiches with cheese and ham and three pieces of bread
each.

DÍA 2

Today we woke up early with the sun and mopped and swept all the leaves and water and dirt that had blown into the house from under the doors and windows. A&er that we walked to Pueblo (supermarket) and saw Ramon's friend with a striped shirt who used
to work at Denny's. Pueblo was closed but the striped shirt friend told us to go to the gas stand on line for food. So we got there (shoes #SOAKED), and there were a bunch of police cars taking up ALL the
pumps. There was a long line of people already they were only letting people inside one at a time. AND they were only letting  you buy $10 worth of gasoline! There was a woman in front of us in line, and her kids looked like an exact combination of her and her husband lol. Eventually we got inside and I bought tampons and a chocolate
muffin and chips and sausage in a can.

Later that night Ramon rode his bike to Calle Loiza to check on his barber shop. He said it looked like there was no damage, so that's good at least. No power anywhere s^ll. He brought back tripletas he got from a food truck that had a generator (HOT FOOD: what a pleasure!!) and we played brisca. No cell signal, can't contact anyone, don't know what's going on on the island AT ALL. No water. Watched King Kong on his laptop until it died and then I told him the entire very detailed plot of this book I just read. We slept on the balcony to be cooler. At night there was lightning.

 

 

DÍA 3

Puerto Rican flags are everywhereeee now. Ramon was talking about
bringing out the flag and he was like "be honest, which flag would you
bring out?" Boy don't insult me " .


Anyways. Wake up, eat a lidle bit, read (finished (to read more, please click here).

Hurricane Maria From My/Our Personal Experience

I wrote a 42 day journal, broken down day by day, is there someplace I can submit the entire thing?  Part of it was made into a podcast for the city of Detroit.

Reactions My/Our Friends and Family Outside Puerto Rico Had to What My Family and I Have Gone Through

My mom thought every building in Puerto Rico had been destroyed.

My/Our Thoughts On The Slow Recovery Process

Fuck the United States of America. Forever.

Changes I Wasn’t/We Weren't Expecting

My relationship with the friend I was staying with became super intense, which was a hard thing.  Carolina a lot of stores stayed closed.

Oh, Before I/We Forget…

Here is the link to the podcast I recorded.

I’d/We'd Like To Dedicate My Hurricane Maria Essay To...

Here is the link to my hurricane journal, complete with photos.  Thank you for this forum!


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