This story goes back a few years, January 2014 to be exact. A huge ice storm had just hit my hometown in Toronto. I’m talking fallen trees, power failures in -20 degree weather, and sadly, people freezing to death. Meanwhile, here in Reunion island we were facing some troubles of our own as cyclone Bejisa stormed through, knocking down trees and sending huge waves through the walls of houses along the coast.
My little sister, eighteen at the time, had planned her first vacation. First long plane ride, first time seeing the ocean, and second real trip away from Canada. She had two planes to catch, one airport transfer by bus, thirty-six hours of travelling and she didn’t speak a word of French. She was leaving from a cold, icy, Toronto without electricity and the plane was set to land in Reunion on the third of January 2014. As some of you may remember this was just after Bejisa, so I was desperately trying to find a signal on my phone to find out if her flight had been delayed and for how long, trying to bail the ankle deep lake out of my car due to a broken window, and waiting for the roads to open.
Finally, Freedom Radio announced that the mountain road was open, so we put down a tarp on the seats, so my sister didn’t have to sit in a puddle, and hit the road. Taking La Montagne to get to the airport right after a cyclone was a challenge to say the least, crossing waterfalls, fallen trees, and electrical lines.
Meanwhile my sister had been waiting for hours in St. Denis, after a very long flight and a lot of misinformation, she had no way of contacting me and no idea what was going on. A look of relief swept over her when we finally pulled up in our soaking wet car. She kept her eyes open the whole way home, commenting on how beautiful our island is! All I could see was the mess that Bejisa had left.
My sister can now look back with fond memories and remember her first day on the island, which she spent helping us collect hundreds of mangoes exploded all over our garden, sweeping leaves off the patio, and going to the beach to have a shower since we still didn’t have water. And to top it all off, ten days after Bejisa EDF happily announced on the radio that there were less than five houses still waiting for electricity on the island, of course, our house happened to be one of those five but like my sister said “At least its not -20°C”.
ice storm – tempête de glace
hometown – ville natale
power failure – coupure de courant
to freeze to death – crever de froid
meanwhile – pendant ce temps
to knock down – faire tomber
waves – vagues
desperately – désespérément
signal – réseau
delayed – retardé
to bail out – écoper
ankle deep – arriver jusqu’aux chevilles
due to – à cause de
tarp – bâche
puddle – flaque d’eau
to hit the road – prendre la route
relief – soulagement
soaking – trempé
fond memories – bons souvenirs
to sweep – balayer