Elena of '85

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
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Trip End Jul 24, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Well. Here it is. What you've been waiting for. Word of the day...

IN SPANISH: TORMENTA
Say it with me: TOR-MEN-TA.... Tormenta.

IN ENGLISH: STORM
Now say that seven times, and remember it. Think of it by looking at the base of the word in Spanish- Torment. A storm may torment a city. Make sense? 

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 Flashback: At the end of August in 1985 a storm arose in Cuba. It quickly gathered power and was officially deemed a "tropical storm" named Elena. As Elena meandered through the Gulf of Mexico the entire state of Florida as well as coastal areas of Mississippi were on alert, but no one knew exactly where and when this storm would make landfall. What made matters worse for the people residing on the west coast of Florida was that Elena wanted to sit instead of move along. For days the category three storm's long reaching bands swept through Florida, bringing high winds, sheets of rain, and the pandemonium that comes with not knowing where such a large storm is heading. As many high-ways and interstates were clogged from those fleeing to the inland and the higher ground, some realized that there was little sense in running. Though the promise of safety was only a half days drive away, the roads were so full that the drive would be more treacherous than taking shelter with a good supply of food and water at home. And so Elena sat, and whipped the town in which I was to be born just three years later.

It's been nearly 27 years since Elena beat Tampa bay up. She is just a distant memory that only true Florida natives can recall. My father is one of them. In fact, he was the one who interested me in this storm. He recounted of watching bridges shut down due to high wind warnings, and major roads being too full of cars to safely navigate. He also recounts of the storms that were close calls to hitting our crowded coastal town. In the early 90's along came Andrew and the decimation that it brought upon Homestead in Southern Florida. Then there was Charlie, that went south at the last minute and pummeled a small yet well-off area by the name of Punta Gorda. Then of course there was Katrina, which was originally charted to come right up the inlet of Tampa Bay... From living your whole life in Florida, you become a little bit of a weather expert, and even more importantly you learn about contingency plans. What do you do when the storm is heading straight at you? Or when you're unsure of its path? How do you survive being pounded when the storm is sitting right in front of you?

Contingency Plans
  While planning my year in Mexico I've had to be far more cautious and use a little wisdom borrowed from others. Though faith, trust, and confidence can be very positive attributes, they sit upon a deadly fine line between ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance. I have started to look into the current political climate of Cuernavaca and Mexico as a whole. Though nothing I have discovered has deterred me from my plans for the upcoming year to live in the Mexico, I will certainly take as much advice and as many precautions as possible. The events that are occurring in Mexico are just like Elena of 1985. The country may be taking a beating from a tormenting storm, but I pray that eventually the "weather" will clear up. 

I'm sure everyone has had an Elena or two in their own lives that seems to sit right next to them and bring nothing but trouble. I've lived through my own, and admittedly sometimes the ramifications of the storm are still visible. The thing is that I lived through it. Though there were nearly $2 billion in damages from Elena, there were no deaths caused directly from the storm. 

 Sometimes you just have to pray for fortitude and wait for the end of September when hurricane season is over, and sometimes you have to carry out a wise contingency plan.

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Progress towards Mexico is good. Not perfect, but good. I currently have some paper work in the mail, including my insurance forms and my passport. I still need to get some small thing finished such as a physical and student loan deferment, but they'll be taken care of in short time. As far as fund raising goes, nearly half of the funds have been committed. I'm very thankful and at ease as about half of my prep time till departure has gone by. For now, I have been so blessed by my pastor to be allowed to live with him and his family until the end of summer so that I can be closer to school, church, and a promising Steak N Shake that I was transferred to. The plan is for me to work as hard and as much as possible at my jobs so that I leave my youth position with good plans and my own affairs in good order. *Contingency plan: work harder. 

 Remember how to say socks in spanish? No? Go read my last blog. Thanks for your continued encouragement and support. I'll update the blog sooner than later on fundraising and other events pertaining to this beautiful life- la vida bonita. Happy Summer everyone! 

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