We had the first snowfall this year.
To be honest, the snow here really surprised me. When I was first told that it was snowing when I woke up, it was followed by, “but it’s raining now.” Having lived in Wisconsin my entire life, my natural reaction to the first snowfall of the year is to shrug and carry on as per usual. Especially when it comes to the slushy mix of rain and snow. That’s never anything to be excited about. As I took my seat by the window for my Japanese class watched the rain fall. Occasionally I would look back out the window and see more and more white flakes fall amongst the rain.
”ざんねん” Was what I thought. (Zannen= Too Bad)
There weren’t nearly enough flakes for me to call it snowing. I would have like to see more snow but I wasn’t hoping for much. I’m used to the first few days of snow being fairly slow and slushy and never seeing any REAL fluffy snow until December at least…well…I should say anything that sounds absolute. Wisconsin is known by the locals for being rather moody when it comes to the weather. So imagine my surprise that by the end of class, my friend Amy from Hawai’i comes rushing past my classroom shouting to me that it’s snowing. After having not looked out the window for about an hour, I turn around once again and find the entire sky clouded with fluffy flakes of snow and small piles of white crystals forming on the ground. My vision blurred slightly from the amount of snow falling before me.
I smiled wide.
It was SNOWING.
“しつれいします！” I said to my sensei as I ran out the door to join Amy. (Shitsureishimasu= I’m taking my leave. You’d say this to a sensei after class is over or when you’re exiting their office.)
As she and I ran down the stairs, our mutual friend Dazzy sprinted toward us shouting with immense elation, “IT’S SNOWING!”
From there the three of us booked it out the front door and into the snow. うるしかった (Urushikatta=I was so happy)。Both Dazzy and Amy had never seen snowfall before. Seeing them spin around in the snow with such exhilaration was refreshing to me. I was reminded of the amount of assortment of characters at this university. There are those who reside in warm climates and therefore had never seen snow before. Students from Taiwan, Hawai’i, California and Egypt viewed the day’s snowfall as nothing less than magical. There are those from northern regions such as Hokkaido, Canada, Norway, Sweden, UK and Finland too jaded to do anything more than groan in contempt; those from southern regions such as Mexico and Okinawa too busy shivering from the cold to feel any kind of jubilation; as well as those, like me, from northern regions who had been waiting all semester to witness the first REAL snowfall.
I knew that I’d be happy once the snow began to pile up, but I never expected the first snowfall to stick like it did today. After lunch I headed back outside to play in the snow. My friend Josh started scooping handfuls of snow off the nearby cars and tossing it at us, thus initiating my first snowball fight of the season. The snow was perfect for packing without compressing it into spheres of ice. It felt as if it had been so long since my hands were numb and raw from the cold. Back in the U.S. the first snowfall would have been less of a big deal. Our last winter (snowfall) ended around late April/early May therefore, I’ve got plenty of snow awaiting my return in January. However, to be surrounded by so many people who were witnessing snow for the first time or by people who hadn’t seen snow in years…their euphoria was breathing new life into me. It was so refreshing.
I’ve decided that this winter I want to share my experiences, my knowledge and snow stories with my friends. I want to share these winter memories with them because I know that those memories will be as precious to them as they are to me.