- Posted May 18, 2014 by
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Becoming an Evacuee
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
We headed to Starbucks; with its free wifi and free refills for loyalty card holders. We were located near a sandwich shop and a Walmart, which seemed strategic if we needed to buy supplies.
During our wait at Starbucks, my girls went through at least 4 refills of iced tea and were very happy when the senior barista brought over paper, stickers, and markers to create artwork.
We sat for hours and watched people stream in from all over North County, sharing their stories. One family was watching the news as their condo on Ambrosia Lane went up in flames. They were calm, composed, and didn't seem upset, almost as if they weren't thinking about the emotional loss but just what were the immediate steps ahead.
We met other families with children clutching their teddy bears and blankets, as they ran around outside with a nervous energy that just didn't seem to stop.
At 6:30 pm, my husband met us and we headed over to a local shelter. Surprisingly, it was almost completely devoid of evacuees. There were just 3-4 families there, happy to munch on fresh dinners brought by local restaurants and wondering what is next.
By 8:30 we decided to take up a friend's offer to stay at her house. And we hoped to stop by our own house to pick up a change of clothes and toothbrushes.
We checked and and drove through the eerily empty streets and hatched a plan to get into our neighborhood via a side street, in the event that there were still street closures in effect. Surprisingly, all streets were open, and we drove by neighbors who were quietly placing their trash cans in the street for routine pick-up the next morning. We arrived home and gratefully to an untouched house and happy to lay our heads in our own bed.
Thank God that we were evacuated for less than a day. I pray for those families who are still waiting to learn if their home is still there and still waiting to get clean changes of clothes and the everyday essentials. I am thankful to the Red Cross who organized a safe place to be, along with food and medical care. We are thankful for the small teddy bears that my girls were given which will forever memorialize our experience away from home.