New York

I had all kinds of happy stories planned to tell you in my post today, but I find I can't do it, because my heart is breaking a little bit for New York.

As I type, the whole city is being battered by a slow-moving hurricane that, the last time I saw the news, was the apparently size of Europe. Is that even possible? Could I have misheard? It's terrifying. New York is not set up to withstand hurricanes. A week ago the east coast suffered an earthquake (thankfully, my friends in Richmond Virginia are ok, but others are not).

And on Thursday, I found out that the apartment I used to live in in SoHo - filled with many, many good friends - burned up in a fire earlier this month. I feel so saddened for my SoHo friends and neighbours. Thankfully, none of them were harmed in the fire. But some lost absolutely everything: their homes, their possessions, everything from clothes and toothbrushes to travel mementos, wedding certificates and family photographs... as they rushed from the burning building in terror at 2am. Today, my friends are still homeless.

I have all these conflicting emotions: I'm grateful my friends weren't harmed; deeply saddened for their loss of everything they value and everything they need; so glad that other friends recently moved out of the building; relieved I wasn't living in the building at the time; and selfishly at a loss because 68 Thompson Street, that place in my mind that has represented the epicentre of my homesickness for New York for 18 months since I left, no longer exists.

Now, I am wishing upon every lucky star in the sky that my friends make it through Hurricane Irene unharmed, too.