Aside from the occasional dustings of snow we would get growing up in Houston, I’d never really experienced snowfall until I was a study-abroad student in Pamplona, Spain.
I was sitting in class. Art History, I think. As I glanced out the window I noticed the drizzle had gotten bigger and slower. That was snow falling against the steely grey backdrop of the Navarra sky.
Why are we still sitting here? I thought. It’s snowing, therefore everyone must go home at once. My initial, Chicken Little-esque thoughts were paired with an astonishment that everyone wasn’t similarly struck by the event. Looking around the room, I tried to catch someone’s eye, see if anyone else noticed. I quickly realized that this was quite normal. I just had to walk a few blocks home and this city was probably, definitely more prepared for snow than the other places I’d lived.
I then remembered that I had left the flat with my laundry still hanging on the line outside my bedroom door. By the time I got home all my ‘delicates’ had been frozen solid.
It snowed a few more times and some with a good deal of accumulation. Most of the study-abroad crowd lived in colder climates so nobody really noticed except for an Australian student who was a giddy as I was.
There was also ice. I quickly learned that it was the most treacherous thing to walk on and was brutally educated on the perils of black ice on the sidewalk at night.
That winter was pretty harsh. I remember crying because I still had to wear my coat in April– something I’d probably never done. My roommates were from Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota so they weren’t impressed by my distress. They did, however give me great advice about layering my clothes (t-shirt, t-shirt, sweater, coat) and walking on questionable surfaces with my toes pointed out.
Since returning to the States, I’ve moved to progressively closer places: first North Carolina, now Maryland. In Durham, we got a few snow ‘events’ and it was usually a big enough deal to close down and stay home. On the night before President Obama’s 2008 inauguration there had been a big snowfall and I remember everyone staying home to watch.
In 2013 we made a trip to Canada in December. Naturally, there were heaps of snow. That was probably my son’s first real experience with snow. We even bought him a snow-pant-with-suspenders thing to wear. He wasn’t terribly impressed. And his little fingers were frozen red.
Last winter, we missed all the snow in North Carolina because we were in Houston, (where it was probably 75 degrees.)
I’m excited to see what this winter will be like. My husband takes public transportation to work, so, barring that being shut down, we don’t really have to worry about the transportation hassles of snow. Last week we had our first flakes. It was nothing really, snow/sleet/rain- nothing you’d want to be outside for and nothing you’d want to photograph. But on Friday afternoon I left the house–the sun high in the sky- and puffy, white flakes swirled around me. I got that same feeling. It’s still a delightful surprise. It’s snowing. I just wonder if I’ll still have that feeling at the end of my first Maryland winter.
Tell me everything! What’s your favorite snow memory? Have you gotten any snow? Do you love it or dread it?