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May 27, 2013

Tornado

It was Monday afternoon. I was in Sayulita, Mexico and had just spent the day in the ocean. The sand was burning hot and I was returning a stand up paddle board I had rented for a few hours. The guy running the surf shop rinsed off my board with a fresh water hose and asked me in broken English where I’m from. My response, as usual is, “Oklahoma. Do you know where it is?” The man said “Ohhh… there’s ice there right now.” I brushed him off and assumed he was confused or there was something lost in translation. Ice in Oklahoma? In late May? Nah.

I should’ve known better.

I dried off and made my way to a small coffee shop with Jeremy. We sipped on a piña colada smoothie and I checked in on Twitter. That’s when I got warning from all my local friends to duck and cover. Baseball sized hail was falling from the sky. Tornado sirens were being reported. It was surreal and confusing – sitting in the sun in a wet bikini and tan skin … watching my social media feeds as a disaster unfolded back home.

And a disaster it was. Reports of children trapped in a school that was hit – third graders being forced to hold up falling walls and basements full of kids flooding. I felt like I might throw up. In that moment I felt so far away from home.

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Jeremy’s family lives right near tornado alley but they’re all okay. The school that was hit is just blocks from my nephews’ school. We ourselves live about 10 minutes north of Moore, Oklahoma and our house was untouched. We’re thankful that our families and friends are safe and sound. Thanks to each and every one of you who reached out to make sure we were okay.

Oklahoma still has some healing to do. Us Okies have become really good at coming together in the face of tragedy but please send love and good vibes this way. If you feel inclined to donate money the American Red Cross is always a good bet. If you know of any other ways to help (donations, blood drives, etc.) please leave more information in the comments.

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