Growing up in the midwestern region of the United States, I dealt with tornados and floods. Then, spending the majority of my adult life in Florida I dealt with hurricanes and fires. So when the locals told me that a typhoon was on its way, I was thrilled to be able to add this natural disaster to my list.
Three days before the actual event I thought about what a typhoon is; Webster’s Dictionary describes it as a hurricane occurring especially in the region of the Philippines or the China Sea. Well, I learned all about hurricanes so I began to prepare by stocking up on water, bleach, and canned and dried foods; I wanted to be all set for the excitement.
The day before ‘T-Day’, I asked the locals for advice on what else I needed to do or whether I needed to tape up my windows; that is common in Florida when a hurricane is coming. They told me there is nothing to do — just stay home until it is over, then go back to work. I was shocked, appalled, and horrified at the fact that they were not worried. Didn’t they know this was a benchmark in my list of natural travesties? I asked them what they were going to do during the typhoon and they simply said ‘sleep or watch television’.
The day came and the home office of the school decided to cancel the evening classes and close the school the following day. Now that is what I am talking about; let’s get things buckled down and ready! It started with some rain that kind of increased and decreased on a regular basis — kind of like Florida rainy season. Then the winds began to pick up. I quickly looked out the window to see if I could see anything but, of course, it was pitch black outside. In the middle of the excitement my husband asked me if I wanted to go with him to grab something to eat at a restaurant. I looked at him and stated there is a TYPHOON outside!!! He just smiled and said, “Around here no one is fazed by that; we just do what we want to do.” So I decided to go with him to see if there was anything interesting.
There were people everywhere. Walking and driving around looking at everything. The restaurants were packed, we ended up getting some Shaobing, a chinese flatbread with a variety of stuffings, from a street vendor. Yes, there was a street vendor out in the middle of a typhoon.
After we returned home and turned on the Olympics, I asked my husband why no one was concerned with the current events with the weather. He smiled and said, “We are located between three mountains, deep in the valley. We are safe from any kind of typhoon, tornado, or hurricanes. We get a little flooding sometimes but that’s it.” I was devastated. All this typhoon turned out to be was a big, windy thunderstorm — without lightning and thunder.
I guess I can go ahead and chalk it up as having experienced a typhoon, but it is definitely nothing to tell the grandkids about. Hmmm, I hear they have a lot of earthquakes in China…maybe I will try that.
Images: Xinhua News Agency (by Wang Jianmin)
Jo Gan, is a Black American woman married to a local Chinese man living in China. She spends her time as a Director of Foreign Teachers, freelance writer and blogger and just trying to figure out the Chinese wife thing. You can follow her personal blog at www.lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com