Every winter evokes a nostalgic state of mind which takes me back to 2014. For most part of my life I enjoyed winter, as all it meant was an opportunity to wear sweatshirts and of course the holidays! But my stint with a real, freezing white winter was experienced when I first landed in the United States. It was the month of December in 2013. My friend and I were nervous as much as excited while heading out from the airport. Though we had an idea of what to expect from a Midwestern winter based on our research during grad school applications, we weren’t really cold tolerant people.
As I stepped out, I noticed traces of snow here and there, but less than what I imagined. The chilly breeze through my hair was a feeling I would never forget, as it is still fresh in my mind after 4 good years! After all, that was my first feel of Nebraskan winter. Within few days, we had good amount of snow and just like many, I enjoyed my time with my first snow.
The honeymoon stage with my snow experience was over pretty soon and thus came the hard part. A 26- minute walk to my apartment every Tuesday and Thursday night after class was the toughest part of my masters program in the States. Yes, I wouldn’t ascribe my hardships in a foreign country to a hectic schedule, busy lifestyle, never ending assignments, homesickness or the tough coursework, but to a bone chilling torture of winter walking with heavy backpacks, freezing palms and feet that almost feel numb and dead by the time you reach home! Not to forget the foggy glasses as a result of my thermal face mask. All this in spite of wearing four layers of clothing with heavy jackets, gloves, beanie and boots! The privilege of not having a car! But yes, it was HARD!!! Those moments were the only times I felt like running away, the time I missed home and family real bad.
The same scenes repeated each time we went walking to a nearby Walmart. Nothing is as close by as you think when you walk on a freezing winter evening with temperatures falling below -30 C, carrying tons of grocery bags! Phew! (in a cold way) I think most international students can relate to this if they lived in colder places. But it was definitely intense for someone who used to cuddle up in a fluffy blanket just for tropical winters!
I still have a love/hate relationship with winter, but amidst all my hatred for spine chilling cold winds, there was and is one thing I crave for- Sunshine! Yes, who would’ve thought I’d really crave for something so basic- like sun rays! To feel the warmth in a way I never felt all those years back home. It made me realize the need and existence of light and heat from sun.
Now, I’m glad to be in a position where I no longer need to walk miles for groceries or any place else on a winter evening, but winters do evoke my cravings for sunlight! They made me notice and acknowledge a blessing I never really cared about. No matter how much winter reminds of my hardships during my early encounters with it, it definitely made me grateful and reminds me to get out and get my daily dose of Vitamin D!
Daily Prompt– Evoke