In 2012, we took a trip to Miami, which was supposed to be a relaxing, "soak up the sun" vacation. Well, it turned out to be anything but that.
A few days before we were scheduled to leave, the weather report was tracking a hurricane called Sandy. While the meteorologists were predicting that it was going to be a rough storm, as New Yorkers, we assumed it would not hit the northeast as strongly as hurricanes have historically hit places like the Caribbean and South Florida with the greatest of strength.
So, Danielle and I got on our flight; headed to the Sunshine State for what was supposed to be a four-night weekend (Thursday to Monday) filled with sun bathing and fun evenings out with Florida friends.
Upon arriving, we were taken aback by the nasty weather the first day and a half. We were staying at the Eden Roc Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels on Collins Avenue in the heart of Miami Beach. Interestingly, it has Miami Beach's only oceanfront, open-air dining experiences at Cabana Beach Club (at which we did enjoy dining!).
We spent our first night hanging out at the hotel's iconic Lobby Bar, since it was extremely rainy and windy.
Now, I wish I could say the same about the weather this particular week in New York and up the eastern seaboard of the country.
Both me and my sister left our husbands and children home to carry on with their daily life - work and school, as we were leisurely hanging out.
More importantly, as the weather reports were the main focus of the news, they were battening down the hatches and bracing for the impending storm
Me and my sister on the other had were enjoying delicious, ocean-front lunches, and sizzling night life.
One evening, we headed out to a special event featuring the work of my friend, fashion illustrator/designer, Carlos Marrero, "Drawn to Fashion."
That all changed when we returned to our hotel.
We were on a high from the evening, laughing and full of energy. Turning on the television, we were wide-eyed with shock as we watched the storm raging in New York.
The scene was pretty bad. The wind was blowing, trees were swaying and the rain was coming down in a torrential downpour.
Both Danielle and I decided to phone home to see what they were experiencing. It was not good. In fact, because the wind was so strong, it was inevitable that the power would go out.
It was becoming increasingly nerve racking to see the havoc this storm was beginning to reek in New York on television - the flooding all over Manhattan, debris flying all over. The worst scene was watching the facade of a building just blow right off!
Unfortunately, this would not be such an easy task. The storm, which was still at its incipiency, was only beginning its devastation. We called the airlines, but that was in vain, because all the New York-area airports were closed.
We were scheduled to stay one more night and head out the following afternoon. This did not seem likely, and sure enough, the next day we were notified that our flight had been cancelled.
So, there we were the next day, Sunday, with one more night booked at our hotel, a cancelled flight and no real plan. The airlines were telling us that the soonest we could fly into New York was Wednesday, if we were lucky enough to get a booking. This was not good.
As a result, we decided to enjoy the day (which by the way, was gorgeous!), relax (which was not easy knowing what our families were dealing with) and add a night onto our hotel stay. This would take us to Tuesday.
We would intermittently check the airlines and see if there were flights, but things were still so crazy. On Tuesday, we decided that it was getting pretty costly to continue our hotel holiday, so we decided to drive north and crash at our parents' house in Boca Raton. In this way, we could remain in Florida until we could secure air transportation back to The Big Apple.
Meanwhile, once in Boca, we made ourselves comfortable, until we were able to secure a flight back. I wish I could say that being in sunny Florida for this sister's weekend was relaxing, but, unfortunately, it just wasn't.
After the storm stopped raging, my home was left without power, and over 100 trees had fallen throughout my neighborhood, making much of an obstacle course getting around town in the days that followed the storm, according to my husband. Speaking with the family and what they were all dealing with, left my sister and I with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, we yearned to be back home and were frustrated being so far away, feeling helpless. However, on the other hand, there was a feeling of doom about going home, not wanting to deal with the cold, nasty weather, not having power, dealing with the lines waiting for gas and the aftermath of the storm.
We finally got a flight back to New York on Friday, a week and a day after we left for what was supposed to be a four day weekend of R & R. It was quite a shock going from sunshine, warm weather, and electricity to cold, bitter temperatures, no power and candlelight. But, in the end, it was good to be back home!