Snow getting used to it

Thirteen years ago, I was a little boy fresh off the plane. I had come to Canada from Hong Kong when my parents decided to come here to pursue better prospects.

The one thing I remembered hearing from friends about Canada was something called snow. Being a six-year-old, I thought it must be like ice cream falling from the sky. My best memory of that image was a comic strip in a Hong Kong children’s newspaper. The character was dreaming Hong Kong would one morning be draped in a white blanket of snow. Oh, how gullible I, as a child, had been to have bought into that fantasy.

On the first snowfall after my arrival, the temperature plummeted to a whopping -40 degrees. Arctic winds blew down from the north, turning Calgary into a city of ice and snow. I thought to myself, this was not a dream–it was more of a nightmare. Snow was everywhere.

Apparently, it was a pain to scoop off the driveway, caused huge accidents on a road called "Deerfoot Trail," along with many other horrible side effects.

Snow, along with being torn away from everything I knew (including living in perpetually balmy weather, save for the occasional typhoon which closed down schools at least twice a year), made it hard to pass my first Calgary winter.

Twelve winters have come and gone since and I still haven’t gotten used to the snow. It’s still a pain to scoop off the driveway, and when it falls it rarely comes without a strong north wind, which makes waiting at the bus stop even worse, especially on the first day after the weekend. Besides being a quiet town (relative to one of the world’s great metropolis’), the snow is a major reason why I’ve never gotten used to life in Calgary and probably never will.

Just today, on the beginning of my thirteenth winter here in Canada, many classes were only half full, lecture halls boasted significant gaps between occupied seats, traffic was backed up on every road, and neighbourhood streets were giant skating rinks for cars.

A 15-minute drive from home to the university became a 35-minute odyssey of detours, braving dense fog. For the rest of the day, I heard about two-hour drives from the NE, major backups on major arteries and lots of groaning about it. Not that I have a problem with it, rather I empathize with those poor souls cursing Old Man Winter’s dandruff piling up.

Now do you see why I hate snow?

You may like it since you’ve gotten used to it, but for those of us who haven’t, and never will, it’s not an easy transition.

So speak up if you hate the snow. Maybe if we whine about it enough, someone will get off their lazy ass and do something about it. Or the skies could always clear and the snow could go away for good. Whatever works, I’m all for it. Heck, does anyone have an idea for a giant magnifying glass to redirect sunlight?