Whenever I hear news of people being stuck at home because of snow in other parts of the United States during harsh winters, I look down at my light sweater and smile. I thank the destiny gods or whoever was responsible for planning my move away from the tropics to a place where I would not feel like a complete stranger. When I left sunny Brazil and arrived at sunny California I had to learn multiple everyday tasks, but at least snow shoveling and heavy coat shopping weren't included.
Snow is still a novelty to me. The first time I saw snow was in London, where part of my family lives. I was 16 years old, and I remember getting out in the backyard wearing only my nightie just to see what it feels like having those delicate flakes falling from the sky and melting on skin. Although I've seen snow multiple times after that, it will always feel foreign to me. It's not in my DNA.
My snow experiences have only been recreational. I have to drive (or fly) to see it. It takes a concrete plan: let's go see some snow! I can't imagine how it is having to actually live through it. How do you get up in the wee morning hours and prepare to go to work or school when it's freezing outside? How do you drive when roads are covered in ice? How do you take buses, go dating at night and grocery shop when the world around is covered in white? I have no idea. Seriously.
It still baffles me how large and unique US is. I've been travelling this country a lot since I got here, and I've seen beaches and mountains, forests and deserts, flat land and canyons, enormous cities and one-street villages. Brazil is also a huge country, but in there we have "hot", "hotter" and "oh-my-god-my-face-is-melting hot". The city where I'm from, Sao Paulo, does have two-three weeks of winter a year, when temperatures drop to wobbling 50F and people in the street wear all the sweaters they can possibly grab from their closets. We don't know how to behave when it's not summery, you know?
If you're snowed in today, or if you have to venture outside in the freezing wind, I hope you can be safe and warm. As for me, I'll be thinking of you while outside, even when the only frozen thing I see is the ice cream I'd be eating.
('California, I love you' print by NanLawson)