MONMOUTH BEACH, NEW JERSEY —
It's been eight days since Super storm Sandy rocked the East Coast of the United States. Tens of thousands remain without power and damages are estimated to be tens of billions of dollars. For New Jersey’s residents, it is their friends and neighbors who have made the experience bearable.
It was forecast as one of the largest storms in American history. And yet, some New Jersey citizens stood their ground.
“Mandatory evacuation... by the time it came in, unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of options,” said resident Teja Anderson.
That's because Anderson and her husband had waited too long.
“Everybody was begging us to get out like our families," she said. "My husband's family in Ohio was screaming at us and hanging up on us like, 'GET OUT GET OUT.'”
But then she heard the hurricane was speeding up, which meant less time for the storm to do damage
“The only crash we heard the whole night was the first table falling over. After that the water sort of gently mixed it all around and made a big hodgepodge of stuff. We knew the house wouldn't fall apart at that point. We'd made it through the worst,” said Anderson.
Thousand of others didn't, though. They lost their cars, their furniture and even their homes.
“It's just stuff. It's so stupid," said Anderson. "But everybody lost just so much more. Photos and memories and stuff that you can never get back. Ours was really just furniture. It's just stuff. It really doesn't mean anything.”
She said what does matter is how people pulled together.
“This is a community. This is a town that cares about other people and everyone pulls through,” said Anderson.
Neighbors helping neighbors. Anderson said that's commonplace here.
“Soon as somebody got hot water, and they put it on Facebook, 'I have hot water! Come take a shower!'” she said.
Still, Anderson can't help but look back at how lucky they were.
“We were worse than stupid. We were idiots. We took our children's lives into our hands. I'll never do that again...” she said.
She knows that next time they might not be so lucky.