Why Hurricane Patricia Won’t Be Remembered

On Thursday morning, I was excited about the chance to take a weekend trip to Mazamitla, Jalisco to enjoy the mountains and annual flower festival. Thursday night, I sadly decided that I would skip the trip due to a lot of rain and some thunderstorms forecasted during the weekend because of a hurricane coming up the coast. Hopefully, I will be able to take that trip later this year.

I had no idea just how big the hurricane would be. Friday felt like the closest thing to a snow day possible in Guadalajara. Several students were absent, and several more were picked up early throughout the day, parents wanting to get home and out of traffic before the storm hit and the flooding began. I heard that Puerto Vallarta and some of the other coastal cities were being evacuated. It rained pretty much the whole day, which is not very fun when your school is structured so that stepping into the hallway between classes is also stepping out into the open air. I walked home fairly unworried, knowing Guadalajara is about 3 hours away from the coast, a little south of the projected path of the hurricane, and is surrounded by mountains which would break up the winds. Friday night, I was encouraged as I watched my newsfeed fill up with the prayers and warnings from friends in the States as well as locals.

The rain stopped sometime during Friday night and when I got up Saturday morning I was awed to see the news on the weather channel. Hurricane Patricia was the strongest Pacific hurricane ever recorded. It was a category 5, though I saw some articles that suggested it would have classified higher if the scale had gone past 5. The last category 5 hurricane to hit the pacific coast of Mexico killed 1,800 people in 1959. However, by Saturday morning, the weather reporters seemed shocked that even though Patricia was the most rapidly intensifying hurricane ever recorded, it weakened even faster. The death toll, as far as I have heard, is 0. If you are curious, here is the weather report. http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-patricia-mexico-coast

Though this event was historic, I doubt it will be remembered long because in the end the damage was so slight compared to what it could have been. However, it should be remembered. It should be remembered as a testament to the power of prayer and to God’s control over nature. I am so thankful for the faithful prayers of believers, whether they knew people in Mexico or not, who prayed when they saw a need. I am also thankful to God for listening to our prayers and protecting lives. Please continue praying as there is still damage along the coast, and especially for the low income, many of whom lost the little they had.

Image from http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/23/americas/hurricane-patricia-live-blog/

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A Summer Roadtrip

While I was trying to take full advantage of my five week summer break, I was privileged to visit with two very dear people out of state. I did a lot of driving that week, but it was absolutely worth it. My first stop was in Maryland, visiting one of my roommates from college. Lauren and her husband, Stephen, are living in the coziest little retro camper you have ever seen.  I was able to spend a day and a half with them, cooking with Lauren, going on walks in the neighborhood, and just enjoying catching up. We also got to visit the historic Ellicott City. It was Lauren’s first time seeing it as well so we had a great time exploring the antique (and antique inspired) shops and artsy cafes.

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We took lots of pictures and found a river full of cairns. Cairns are delicately balanced stacks of smooth stones. Lauren has often mentioned how fun she thinks it is to build them and almost every time I can remember that we have been at a creek or river together, she has built at least one. It was such a serendipitous coincidence that the city had hosted a special event the week before when dozens of people came out to the river and set up the cairns.

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Lauren and Stephen were excellent hosts. I was so encouraged by their contentment and thankful attitudes. Though their camper is really cute, it is quite small, probably not the ideal for most newly married couples. However, I never heard a word of complaint, but instead, many instances of thankfulness for air conditioning, the beautiful view, the microwave, the storage space, etc. With their attitude, they have more than they need and can enjoy it all fully. I hope I can emulate their behavior no matter what my living situation is.

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The second stop was to visit my sister! She had been working as a camp counselor this summer in Pennsylvania. It was a new experience to be introduced as “the sister”. Because I am the oldest, I tend to have experiences first and then introduce my siblings to people when they come to visit me. It was kind of fun to have roles reversed and be the visitor for a change and hear all about her experience. I really enjoyed the campus. Forests, cornfields, and log cabins just seem so homey after living in a tropical climate.

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It was the only weekend I would be able to see her the whole year, so we also caught up a lot, shared silly stories, set up a hammock in the dark, and read each other children’s books. Bri is one of the people in my life who makes me laugh the most. The laughter was definitely a refresher I needed that weekend. Thank you both for the chance to visit!

Photos are my own.

Saludos Sayulita!

Our little weekend trip to the beach literally started with a flash and a bang, when lightning struck the ground very close to where we had stopped for road side tacos. This was followed by an hour or so of heavy rain. Our luggage was in the back of an open truck, but fortunately we had put all the luggage in garbage bags (not entirely water proof it turns out, but better than nothing). Those who had been riding in the back of the truck crammed up front with us for the remainder of the trip after tacos. We reached Sayulita around 9 in the evening and after getting the keys to our super cute bungalow, we went into the town square to look at the shops and watch the people dancing to the band playing in the gazebo (a feature of almost every Mexican town I have been in).

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After going to bed early and sleeping in late, we enjoyed biscuits and gravy with eggs and bacon for breakfast before heading to the beach. We had heard that there was a pretty beach just a 10 minute walk away from the main beach area. We got all of our gear together and went to check it out. We walked past some super fancy villas and then came to a little sign pointing us away from the coast toward Playa de Los Muertos.

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This was a little short cut through a cemetery of sorts to a beautiful cove. This cove had natural rocks around it which we all enjoyed exploring. The waves were fairly gentle and more than half of the beach was naturally shaded by palm trees. I didn’t even have to set up an umbrella to be in the shade and read my book! That was a wonderful experience.

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After lunch, we decided to check out the main beach. It was quite a bit more crowded and noisy. There were also a lot of vendors and people offering to braid hair, give massages, make tattoos, etc. I hope you all appreciate the irony of this picture. In case you can’t read the key, the red flag means “no swimming”.

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For dinner, our group got to meet up with a couple from Lincoln who spontaneously decided to camp at Sayulita the same weekend. It took some looking, but we finally found a place where there was enough seating for 10 of us which also offered seafood tacos at a reasonable price. Shrimp tacos are just amazing. We got caught in a heavy rain on the short walk back to our bungalow so we hung out under an awning for about 15 minutes until is stopped. Rainy season isn’t over yet apparently!

Sunday morning, we all went our own ways until departure at 1:30. I enjoyed an hour or so at Playa de Los Muertos by myself. It was so lovely to just rest in the shade as I read The Princess Bride and listened to the waves crash. I also got some coconut ice cream in town because it was quite hot and how could I pass up coconut ice cream at the beach?

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The ride back had beautiful mountainous views. Our weekend wasn’t even over when we got back because we had Monday off because a good chunk of Guadalajara was celebrating the Virgin of Zapopan. I took the afternoon to go with my housemates to El Centro in Guadalajara to see the cathedral, the theater, and some other sites. We had a great time.

All photos are my own.