“And the winner is…”, is the last thing I hear when the power outage erases smiling Heidi Klum from my laptop screen. The washing machine stops, Ale’s hoover takes the final breath and the beeping battery-powered fire alarm is the only noise we hear in our de-electrified house.
A massive thunderstorm took over Vancouver last night. What started as a heavy rain fall, quickly turned into an unexpected 90km/h wind-gushing storm that swept through the city uprooting trees, stopping SkyTrain cars, throwing patio furniture across streets and ultimately leaving 400 000 people without power. We stayed in all day, fearfully looking at giant branches sweeping our deck and hoping that the water doesn’t damage our fragile house.
As the daylight gives way to the nightfall we are loosing precious reading time. Ale is studying for her defense, I am still trying to finish my comprehensive exams. “We have to go somewhere”, says Ale. I am texting on my 7% battery life phone to everyone with the only question that is relevant at the moment “Do you have power?” Nobody has power, libraries are closed, coffee shops are closed, the buses are not running. We turn our chairs to the windows, we dig out the candles, we hope that BCHydro comes to rescue us from the darkness and start drinking milk so that it doesn’t go bad overnight.
Our house welcomes the night enveloped in fragrant roses, waterfalls, sunflowers, and coconut lime. There was a sale in Bath and Body Works and all the candles that I bought there are now in use. Ale and I are drinking cider, we are talking about our favourite movies and books, we tell silly jokes and share secrets. The winds are still gushing and the power is still out.
Graduate school, we both agree, is more than just grants, conferences and publications. Graduate school, we both agree, is building relationships and finding friends so that you don’t have to spend a blackout all by yourself.