MY FIRST TIME: Seeing Snow

I grew up in Jamaica and only saw snow romanticized on TV. In New York, I discovered it is not so magical in real life.

by Levaunna Gray

My very first time seeing snow was on December 8, 2013. I was new to the United States, having spent all of my 16 years in Jamaica. Before that I had only seen snow on TV.

I had envisioned my first time walking underneath the flurries. I pictured myself wearing a black coat, black mittens, a checkered scarf, and a cute hat. I imagined making a little snowman, having snowball fights, and making snow angels. Afterward, I’d come inside and drink hot chocolate my mother made for me.

My first time was nothing like this.

I was about to leave for school, when my mother said, “It’s snowing outside!”

I was amazed, surprised, excited, a bundle of emotions. I opened my door and saw the flakes flying in the air. I started giggling uncontrollably; I couldn’t contain my excitement. My mom made me put on a long black wool coat, a purple scarf, a brown hat, and black gloves. On top of this, I had to put on a long brown raincoat. I looked like a stuffed turkey. I pulled up my boots and headed outside.

My excitement lasted for all of five minutes until I realized how annoying snow was. Weren’t you supposed to be able to walk in the snow casually without an umbrella? That’s what people did on TV. They didn’t have on so many layers of clothing. They never had to be mindful of where they stepped to prevent falling. TV people didn’t even look like they were cold! I felt like I had been tricked.

The snow melted on me. I didn’t have an umbrella and got almost as wet as if I’d been walking in the rain. I also discovered that it is very hard to build a snowman. It’s not as easy as in the movie Frozen. I wanted to make a snowman that looked like Frosty but it was impossible. The snow didn’t stick together. The flakes were flying in my face really fast and they felt like pesky insects. I couldn’t even play in the snow for long because it was so cold.

Television also did not prepare me for the slush and ice that follows snowfall. To prevent the snow from sticking on the streets, people put down a special salt that melts the snow. When the dirt from the car tires mix with the melting snow it becomes a brown mush. Then because it’s so cold out, it turns to ice. I cannot count how many times I have fallen on the sidewalk because I was walking too fast and slipped. I even remember one time two gentlemen helped me up, and they were laughing so hard.

Blizzards are even worse. The thick, deep snow makes it difficult to walk, and no matter how warm and insulated my feet are, my toes freeze.

In Jamaica I’d never experienced temperatures below 75 degrees, so maybe I just need more time to adjust. But for now, in my opinion, snow is overrated. I appreciate its beauty for the first two hours. Then, it gets annoying.

Television also did not prepare me for the slush and ice that follows snowfall.
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