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The Waiting is the hardest part

My husband and I were on Kauai in September, 1992.  We got the call at 6:00 AM – to evacuate the hotel, and go to the Koloa Elementary School.  Until then, we were only vaguely aware of a storm approaching – perhaps someone talked about it at the bar the night before (which explains ‘vaguely’).

That morning, we grabbed a few things and headed out to the school with about 500 of our closest friends.  Iniki was still hours away, but it was already raining and the wind was picking up.  There we were in the cafeteria of the school, crowded onto benches and trying to figure out what we were going to do for the next nn hours.  For us, northeasterners, the waiting was part of the normalcy for storms and hurricanes.  But some of the people there were pretty much basket cases.  They were from California, or other locales, and were not comfortable with a 12-24 hour wait.

They said to us that an earthquake, while scary, hit and then was pretty much over.  They didn’t get advance notice, and it didn’t drag on for hours. 

During that day, and the days that followed, we learned a lot about community.  Even though we were ‘only’ tourists, the locals were amazing.  There was an older lady, Auntie Lee-lee, who came down from her home and entertained children and adults with songs and stories of the Hawaiian islands.  There were the Red Cross volunteers, who cooked meals for us, and helped us organize into task forces to handle issues such as sanitary practices (there was no running water) and the like.  There were the people who came down from their homes with blankets and bottles of water to give aid to us – total strangers. 

The eye of Iniki came thru around 1:00 and then the island was whipped by the backside of the hurricane.  There was tremendous damage done to ‘The Garden Isle’ – but the locals said it was Mother Nature’s way of clearing out and making room for new growth. 

We were ‘stuck’ on Kauai (in the school) for three days.  We built latrines, made lots of friends, and thru it all, never really felt in danger, either from the storm or from our fellow humans.  Looting after the hurricane was very rare.  The general feeling was one of ‘We are all in this together’ – and it was a remarkable one.  I’ve always felt that if I had to chose a place to be in that kind of predicament, I would chose Kauai again. 

There are fine communities everywhere – even virtual ones, like what we have here on SAP Community Network. And in two weeks, there will be a real-life meeting of thousands of members of this community in Las Vegas.  You can’t get much further from the Garden Isle of Kauai than Las Vegas, now can you?

So, Hurricane Irene may be bearing down on us… And I hope that you all are just fine.  I hope that you can share some water with a neighbor, or have communal meals, or maybe just play cards with the nervous people from California for a few hours. 

And then, I will look forward to seeing you at SAPTechEd LV!


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  • Very nice story!

    How I wait for TechED - I am preparing for the many sessions I plan to be in! 

    Scnotty video planning too takes up some time - I am not sure what I will be contributing.

    So much to do in such a short period.  See you soon!

  • Hello Susan

    I'm looking forward to TechED Madrid. It's still a few months away but I'm excited to go there already.

    Meanwhile I'm staying busy doing lots of things since I'm a busy bee. Of course doing SAP related work/projects and creating content for SCN but also working in and around the house and having fun with my family and friends.

    Hope you are all well.

    Kind regards


  • Sue,
      I love the idea of the locals calming down the visitors. Hopefully, you did the right thing and let everyone else leave the island before you.
      We've had a few too many examples of people banding together in adversity in Australia this year, especially in Queensland; It's nice to get to know your neighbor, but you shouldn't have to wait till his house is flying through the air or floating past your house. One of the good things about the SAP community is that people don't wait till they (or you) are in trouble before they share.
      Talking about sharing, I'm definitely not attending SAP TechEd LV this year, but things are looking good for Madrid 🙂

    PS Wouldn't you have been underage if you were in a bar 19 years ago ?

    • Martin, quite correct but the drinking age back then was much lower!
      And yes, we should not need to wait for a natural disaster to get to know (or be nice to) our neighbors.
      That's one reason why SCN is so great!  We can get to know our 'neighbors' as any time.
  • Hi Susan,

    "Waiting" is really hard part while testing Workflows as well 🙂
    I remember my first WF object while executing the WF the graphical view displayed waiting......Sometimes the items get stuck in that stage and then there are varied reasons...
    Irony is the developer cannot entertain herself in that duration rather should be busy finding the reason for the same.


    • Excellent point Kumad, although sometimes the waiting is more to do with getting the right specs 🙂
      However, I've always been able to entertain myself.
  • Well a hurricane is a heck of a lot bigger than Teched.  So to compare to it.  No not really.  That must have been an incredible experience.  The force of mother nature and then the kindness of strangers.

    So I pulled out a statement.  We are all in this together statement.  What makes Teched what it is - it's magic.  It's the community, SAP, new technology, old ideas - we are all in this together.

    Waiting - waiting - waiting,  Well I'm not doing the waiting part very well.  But there is so much to do and so little time, that I don't have a lot of time to wait.

    See you soon! (After the waiting)


    • Hi Michelle,
      Yes, the waiting is very hard.  We are just about 12 days away from SAPTechEd LV - those waiting for other locales have to be even more patient!
  • To those of you who may be interested, we had some flooding (garage, basement), lost some backyard fencing, and are still without power 48 hours later.
    As much as I have whined about this, there is much to be grateful for... gas-powered hot water heater (and offering neighbors not so fortunate the chance to shower)... hard-boiled eggs (we are all sick of them now!) ... and battery-chargers in cars.
    Plus our amazing community, geographically and virtually.
    Best of all, I assume LV will have electricity in only 12 days! (gosh, I hope I didn't just put the hex on Las Vegas)
    • Sue,

      Thanks for updating us on your experience with TS Irene. For those who have not yet "joined the club" and experienced a serious tropical storm, it may be not widely realized that the aftermath can be nearly as stressful and tiresome as the actual storm. I am glad that your own damages were relatively minor.  Hurrah for that, and hurrah for seeing you soon in LV!