“Doesn’t it snow in Australia?” – The standard response when people find out that I have never really seen snow before I moved to New York.
I absolutely hate the cold and people here seem to find it impossible to believe that I haven’t seen snow before. Besides, these people love the snow and just can’t get enough of it! But, if I were to ask you if you wanted to go hang out in the freezer, besides the obvious space limitations, you’d think I was insane, no matter how much you were able to prepare for our little play-date. So, what makes the freezing outdoors any different?
To get back on topic, sure, I saw a few patches of snow on the ground when I visited Seoul while I was living in Daejeon, Korea. It gets a lot colder both in Seoul and Daejeon than New York ever does, but Daejeon is in a valley. The surrounding mountains got a little snow, but the town didn’t. The same with my hometown of Traralgon, Australia. It’s in a valley and there is very light snowfall on the surrounding mountains on a particularly cold day, but that happens maybe twice a decade. Melbourne gets no snowfall in the actual city itself, but again, the surrounding mountains do. It did snow outside when we were stranded in an airport in Ukraine, but obviously we didn’t go out in it and it had no effect on our day. In fact, by the time we finally got to leave the airport again, most of it was gone.
Then, when I explain that I have lived in Singapore since 2008, it is often met with comments to the extent of, “But I thought it snows in China…”
In fact, this is the first winter I have experienced in eight years. A lot of Americans do find it a little difficult to comprehend a world outside of the USA and New Yorkers are also generally a tad forgetful, too. You see, a lot of the people I have chatted with have acted like this happens every winter here, but the reality is that the snowstorm we had at the weekend that dumped 26.8″ (almost 69cm) of snow in Central park was the second-largest snowstorm in New York City history and missed the record by millimetres. That’s what makes this yet another volume of the ‘T’ Factor; I hate the cold, we move to New York and they suffer through their second-worst blizzard on record, Winter Storm Jonas, a blizzard responsible for the deaths of at least 48 people.
So, how did it all go down for us?
Our friend and Anna’s colleague from Singapore, Don Pek, has been doing a similar work placement to Anna, but in St. Catharines, Canada. He had been planning for a while to spend a weekend with us, because he is bored shitless there and this was to be the weekend. Don got into town on Friday night, not long after Anna and myself finished work, we went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. We noticed it was snowing a little bit when we left the house, but it was starting to get heavier when we stepped out of the restaurant. Best to buy some drinks and spend this one at home.
We woke up to a heavy blanket of snow on the ground and an unrelenting blizzard with strong gusts of wind. It soon became evident that we probably weren’t going to leave the house today. Good thing there was plenty of food and beer and that Don hadn’t seen Peep Show yet. Looks like that was the day planned and here is the view out the living room/currently Don’s bedroom window. I’ll try to explain it with quasi-time lapse photography.
By this time we were all starting to develop cabin fever and had to get out of our reasonably small apartment, so we decided to go down to the East Village. We grabbed some lunch and had a look around, but it wasn’t particularly nice dodging giant frozen puddles at each intersection, getting splashed with icy water by cars going by or trying to figure out if the urine you could see in the snow is from a dog or a human. Just not a lot of fun at all, but probably the worst moment was when I almost got pithed by a foot long (30cm) icicle that fell as I walked under it. This thing hit me in the head so hard that the sound made Don jump.
Don was supposed to be heading back to Canada on Sunday night, but all flights were cancelled, looks like we’re watching more Peep Show.
I woke up and figured Don had slept in for his 9:00am flight. Nope, just cancelled again. Getting to work for me was somewhat of a pain in the ass, because the snow and ice still had yet to be dealt with. It was still piled at intersections, making it a tad tricky to cross the road. If you could cross, there was a good chance you would slip on the ice. I slipped twice, but never went completely over.
It was so bad in fact, that my work bought pizza for the whole office to thank us for bothering to show up!
Don’s evening flights were cancelled again and he had Chinese food cravings, so we all went to a really good Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown called Nyonya. It was still horrible outside, so we did a quick bit of grocery shopping in the Chinese supermarket, then it was time to head home again.
God, I hate this weather.
Flights were finally able to leave from New York, but Don couldn’t leave quite as early as he intended and it seemed more like a bus route than a flight, with stops in Buffalo and Denver before he got to Canada.
Well, that is how this horrible, horrible blizzard went down, now it is Wednesday and we’re all still waiting for this disgusting, dirty, greyish-brownish sludge to melt. I think I was just meant to live in the tropics.