It’s been a crazy week here in San Diego. A wild fire broke out down the street from our home on Tuesday, and since then eight more have started. As an East Coast girl, fires are still unfamiliar and unnerving to me, though we were evacuated in 2007 when I was pregnant with Clay, so this isn’t my first go-round.
As much as I hate emergency situations, I am always amazed how they bring out the best in people. I first noticed this in D.C. after 9/11. The city seemed different: united, patriotic. It is a strange coincidence that the day the National September 11 Memorial Museum opened in New York, we were experiencing an emergency in my new(ish) hometown.
It started on Tuesday, when my son’s school was evacuated. My phone went crazy with people offering to pick him up for me. The next day when there was a flare up nearby, the same thing happened and one friend grabbed him from school, and he spent the afternoon with another friend and her daughter.
I remember when Chase and I visited our current neighborhood for the first time and said we didn’t want to live in a “cookie-cutter” subdivision. That opinion changed quickly when Clay was born, and I’m so glad it did. In addition to old friends who live nearby, we have new friendships with people we’ve met through my workout studio, soccer, baseball and school. It’s a sense of community I’ve never felt before, and I’m so thankful for it.
San Diego is very spread out and though each community has a slightly different vibe, this week we were united. People came from other parts of town to take animals home when shelters were evacuated. Businesses and organizations in fire-safe areas opened their doors to those who needed a safe place to shower or eat. Families brought treats to firefighters. College students (who don’t have a lot of money) donated to Red Cross fundraising efforts. The YMCA provided free child care for families when parents had to work while their kids’ schools were closed. Restaurants offered discounts to first responders and evacuated families.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the East Coast (minus the bugs and humidity) sometimes. But this week, I’ve realized that San Diego is my home. I’m proud to be part of a community, that, in time of need, really comes together. In a city of three million people, many of whom are from somewhere else, it’s nice to see.
After days of smoky skies like the photos above, we decided to head to my in-laws’ home at the beach last night, just for peace of mind. You can’t see the smoke over the sunset, and it was a beautiful reminder of the place where my life with Chase started and how grateful I am to be part of this wonderful community.
Stay safe, everyone!