Previously, I was only interested in writing about spring, probably because I have never had a taste of what a “real winter” would be like. Right now, in mid March, spring was supposed to come as we had the daylight saving time tradition around one week ago,  yet looking out of the window, I can see that the snow has not stopped falling, the temperature is still below zero, and the road is still covered with layers of white beautiful snow. I even heard through the grapevine that there was a year where a huge snowstorm was still happening in mid May. Maybe the stubborn winter doesn’t want to leave us yet, because he wants to test our endurance .

Sitting here, I think to myself how strange it is that nine years ago, also around this time of the year, when I first came to a city on the east coast of the United States, I was already shivering and rushing inside just at 5 degree Celsius. Compared to the present day, despite the fact that temperature falls below minus 10 degree Celsius and it “feels like” minus twenty-ish degrees, I was still walking around town as usual. On the days that the temperature raises up to above zero, I even start to complain that it is hot. Before arriving here, I have heard many stories about how horrendous winters can be. Well, I admit, it is, in view of how students sometimes have to take 4 days off from school due to snowstorms, while adults still have to drive on the road only based on their instincts and the glimmer of light that flashing to the front of the car. It were also reported that suicide rates went through the roof during this period. However, up to now, my whole family is enjoying every moment and the kids are still beaming with excitement about their first winter in this country.

Because the winters have been warned to be catastrophic, people are well prepared. Unions and organizations were running many activities to encourage people to get out of the house. For me personally, I couldn’t even catch my breath after going back and forth, taking my children to so many different classes. Therefore, you don’t have to sweat about not having enough exercise in the winter, because there are so many activities and classes offered everywhere.The only thing that you need to worry about is that you might not have enough time to participate in all of them.

Winter is also the season of affection and intimacy. People from all over the place gather for events such as drinking, karaoking, etcetera so that we can enjoy each other’s warmth and companionship during the harsh winter. Lots of people that have a bit of free time on their hands chose to volunteer for various organizations including the food bank- a great incentive in my opinion to solve both hunger and food waste problems. Those who don’t have enough warm clothes for winter can come out to places where people donate their used clothes. Through those activities, one person’s warmth can spread to the other. Suddenly, the winter is not so cold anymore!

Above all, I still find the winters strangely beautiful. Maybe it is because this is the first time that I  enjoy the “genuine” winter in such a fulfilling way? However, there is something that is not adored much: when the first thing you see after waking up is a magnificent blanket of fluffy snow covering the whole neighborhood. Nearby,on the surface of dozens of hectares of land, you can spot sprawling branches that are sometimes submerged in snowflakes. Looking up, the sky is crystal clear as if clouds didn’t exist. On the days when it snows lightly, before you even noticed, you were tip-toeing on the road because you were afraid that the snow would stop falling if you suddenly moved.

But, snow, please stop falling, so that spring can come quickly,  for the summer to arrive, for me to get back to work and earn wages so that I can buy a ticket to go back to my hometown to hide myself from the next winter. Hehe

NQT March 2017


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