The neighborhood where we live was hit pretty hard, as we are the on the street connected to the huge storm drain. (its like 7 ft deep and about 10 ft across) We assume thats what couldnt handle the onslaught of rain. So it had been steadily raining shortly after we arriced home from church at 12:30, and there was a solid hour of very heavy rain. The four of us were studying on the second floor (luckily we have one) and were kind of waiting out the outrageous rain with studies and some cat naps. But somehow none of went downstairs or looked out a window to see just how much rain was coming down...
around 6pm (raining nonstop since 12pm) our member called and asked if our area was flooded.. haha i thought she was joking but obliged her by looking out the window, to my obvious shock the street was indeed flooded with about 2 feet of water! i ran downstairs to find our ground floor filled with about 8 inches of the dirtiest water ive ever seen. hahaha so the first thing we did was locate our electronics, namely our hard drives, which were luckily kept on a table about a foot tall, so all was good on that front. after securing all possible valuables, we went about collecting all the floating items around the house. it was quite the experience indeed; mostly funny because we were caught sleeping and studying while the house was slowly filling with water... luckily the water level did not continue to rise. about 20 mins after it happened, the water rather quickly drained out of the house and out of the neighborhood. The next 5 hours were spent cleaning the house... we finished up about midnight, and the house was cleaner than it has ever been. I'll be able more clearly explain this in person, but the houses here are more or less designed to get wet everywhere, and cleaning up after the flood was kind of a piece of cake, just time consuming. we simply had to move out the furniture onto the patio, and then spray out the ground floor. which includes the living room, kitchen and a spare room. the entire floor is tiled, so we just sprayed everything down with a hose. pretty fun actually. Had we been watching, we could have saved a lot of books, supplies, and wet shoes. but other than those things, nothing is damaged. it turned out to be a great opportunity to clean the house and get rid of extra garbage. so in recap, we got sneak-flooded. and it was a fun time.
The real tragedies were in the homes of the area where we have many members living. they live in small, wooden houses, and the entire is lower than where we live. Some members were at home and only got about 3 inches inside, and some were not home and got about a foot plus inside. The area in general was pretty intensely flooded according to the members. some homes getting waist high water inside. the elementary school close by seems to have been hit the worst. at one point the current was strong enough to push a car "downstream" and also a very large water tank. the only death we have heard about is a family who was drinking when the flood came lost track of their small child and it has been presumed dead :/ pretty tough. The members in general have high spirits, and dont seem to be too affected. all are surprised though as this area has never had flooding before. at the community center the city setup places to sleep and eat for those in need. pretty traumatic for some people, while at the same time many people, members included, were unaffected. One sweet family of members, who are some of my favorites, were out of town yesterday when the flood hit, and they lost a lot of valuable stuff in their absence. while she did not have much to offer, this wonderful sister, sister Lily, insisted on feeding us a humble meal of rice and canned chicken curry (which was actually quite tasty) she insisted on repaying us for helping her in the aftermath.
Other than THAT....
we had a pretty awesome Christmas week. i guess you kind of know about it because we talked already, but we were brought to another dinner/open house at a member's place thursday night.
not a whole lot of festivity, and New Year's gets pretty muffled by Christmas and Chinese New Year, which is at the end of January. I dont know much about chinese new year except that a lot of fireworks will be lit off, and chinese people give other chinese people money as a traditional gift. i will actually be pretty sorry to miss it, cuz the fireworks can be quite the spectacle.
Im not sure i'll be sending a more interesting email home than this, so soak it up. hahaaa