Exactly one month and one day after Hurricane Irma ferociously devastated my 37 square miles of Sunshine & Paradise: St.Maarten, I decided today that it was time to start back writing. So this week, I will not talk about fashion or women related articles, but I will share with you, how HAPPY I am to have been granted the opportunity to be able to write again. My condolences go out to the many families that lost someone during this ordeal and also to our neighboring islands: Anguilla, St.Barths, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda, that also felt the wrath and destruction of this year's Hurricane Season.
It has been a rough couple of weeks, and although as a country we face many challenges, our island has shown how resilient it is towards not giving up and getting back on our feet...one day at the time. I could re live the horrors of the past weeks, but I have chosen not to and instead will share with you what I have learned and what helped me stay strong during days where we thought: St.Maarten Will Never Smile Again! (official slogans post Irma #SXMWillSmileAgain #SXMStrong)
As I teenager, in 1995, I also experienced a category 4 Hurricane, by the name of Luis. Up until September 5th, 2017, he had been the most spoke about storm that touched land. Then came Irma and she made sure wiped those memories with new ones, memories and images that will last us a lifetime and generations to come.
You can also imagine that as a teenager, your perception of disaster is totally different from when you are an adult. Not only as an adult, but as a parent, a daughter, an employee and a citizen, your obligations are also different.
After Irma, our island was declared in an estate of emergency (which was lifted on October 6th). With all the military presence and everything that took place (the media did enough to highlight that, and I will not do the same) it was evident that we would have never been prepared for a natural disaster on that level.
However aid and relief came as soon as France and The Netherlands were able to assist (maybe you recall me mentioning that our island is divided in a French and Dutch part).
There were a few things that kept me going, although there were many nights that I cried myself to sleep, while hugging my son and wondering what the survival challenge of the following day would be. Having to explain a 7 years old, why his stability and everything that he is known to be normal was disrupted, took a lot of creativity (lol), but I got through to him. My son and his well being was my main focus, and although, I unlike many parents chose to keep him with me, many days I second guessed myself, but I knew that whatever we was going through, we was going to go through it together, just like my parents did with me 22 years ago after the passing of Hurricane Luis.
I can tell you that my appreciation for the little things in life, went up by a few notches. The value of money, although important showed me that 2 weeks after Irma, even if you had a FAT bank account, there was nothing you could have done or bought, because there was NO economy.
That moment when you realize that the Almighty has brought everyone to the same level....rich...poor...fat...skinny...educated...illiterate...we were all the same and we were all focused on the same thing: Surviving!
My most important "Post Irma Lessons"
Learn to slow down: with the fast pace of life and the demands of society and your career, our favorite creed is "I do not have time". Well let me tell you that after Irma I had all the time in the world, and could not even feel guilty. We had no electricity or potable water for almost a month, and therefore certainly no internet. We had an island wide curfew, so you had nothing to do on the road. I appreciated the extra family time and valued the true essence of humanity.
Learn To Appreciate: Certainly my appreciation for the "glass is half full" VS. it being "half empty" has escalated. What you thought you could not live without, was exactly what kicked off your survival mode.
Technology should never be taken for granted, but do not become her slave. We experienced over 72 hours, where there was no form of communication in or out of the island. Frantic families overseas and locally trying to reach their loved ones. I was lucky and blessed to have my immediate family with me.
Live today: so many times you wait for the right moment to do things. Irma showed us that Mother Nature will do as she pleases whether you are prepared for the occasion or not. If you bought that dress today, wear it tomorrow....for tomorrow is promised to no one.
Humanity & remaining humble: throughout the various struggles, remain human, this does not cost you anything extra. From a young age I was taught that humbleness will get you, where your capital won't!
Irma may have knocked me down...But she did not take me out! Stay blessed and see you next week, where I will bring you, Fashion, Lifestyle &Caribbean Flare the only way that I know how to!!