Waiting out Ike, expat Canucks worry about homes, reflect on blizzards and cows
Houston and Galveston are home to thousands of Canadians, drawn by oilpatch jobs, excellent universities and a usually pleasant climate.
Several wrote to CBC.ca about the anxiety and upset of living through Ike. And it seems even a hurricane can't suppress a little black humour from slipping out.
One person writing under the name Grotens said she and her family left their home in Clear Lake to stay with friends formerly from Calgary and now living in Woodlands, an hour's drive north of Houston.
"Officials in Houston have told those of us who live in our zip code to be prepared to not have a home to go back to. Rather sobering," wrote Grotens.
"Just spoke with friends who live in our neighbourhood and have chosen to tough it out. We don't think that they are making a wise choice as they have children with them, but we are looking forward to seeing pictures they plan on taking," wrote Grotens.
Lenai Despins, a Winnipegger attending Texas A&M University at Galveston, was among those ordered to leave the school Wednesday. She said it was quite exciting at first because they never actually thought Ike would hit their school.
"Everyone packed light, leaving a lot of their belongings in the dorms," wrote Despins. "Turns out we were sadly mistaken because I've just heard that the small island that holds our school [Pelican Island] is already partially flooded and we haven't even hit the worst of the storm."
Another Canadian, Sheila Huber, wrote that she was taking minimal precautions, packing away loose objects in the yard and buying supplies in case of a power outage.
"But other than that, we aren't doing much more. I couldn't stand having my windows boarded up and besides, I'd rather replace them if needed and save the $$ if not," wrote Huber. "Hopefully I don't eat my words, but when you've lived through months of ice storms, blizzards and -30 to -40 C. temps, this is nothing. :)"
Hannah, who moved to Houston six years ago to attend graduate school at the renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, wrote: "Everyone is pretty calm, which is in stark contrast to the panic during Hurricane Rita three years ago. Hardly anyone has evacuated and we are just going to ride through the storm."
However, she did forward along a humorous e-mail regarding the possible cancellation of a party.
"The party shall go on as planned if you receive an e-mail from me before 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. If you do not receive the e-mail, it means that we have no electric power and, most probably, the conditions do not permit a party…
Other indications that the party has been cancelled:
1. You have found a cow on top of your car.
2. You have a found your car on top of a cow.
3. You cannot find your car.
4. You cannot find your cow."
Writes Grotens: "You have no idea how many Canadians are down here; there are lots of us! People wonder why we choose to live here. It really comes down to jobs where you feel called, and the rest comes with it."