I have been thoroughly enjoying reading the stories on Facebook from my friends who lived through the destructive forces of Cyclone Tracy, 40 years ago. My contribution isn't as poignant or direct as some of theirs, but it has a (kind of) twist ending.
During that time, I was about 8 years old, and we lived in a small town called Taiping, in my birth country of Malaysia. At that stage as a kid, I had never travelled outside of the country.
The day after Christmas in 1974, my family was over at a neighbours house having drinks to celebrate the festivities. The grown ups however, were distracted and talking about this devastating storm called a 'cyclone' that had destroyed an entire town called Darwin in Northern Australia. As an impressionable kid, I was quite shaken by the serious, grave tones of the adults, and I left the party early to run back home to our own house.
We had a huge map of the world taped to the wall outside the bedroom my sisters and I shared, and I went and found a map pin and scoured the whole map for this place called "Darwin". When I found it, I stuck the pin into the map over it, and vowed that I would NEVER, EVER go to that place in the world as long as I lived.
Well, just 4 years later, we were packing all our worldly belongings (and getting rid of most of it) to emigrate to Australia...to... a place called Darwin. A place which I have happily called my home for three quarters of my life.