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Snow Days

Recently, I've combatted a bit of a split reaction when it comes to reading my friends' Facebook status updates about, of all things, snow days.  Typically when my friends post about an unexpected snow day, it's done with all the finess capable of multiple explanation points and those weird sideways smiley faces.  Of course, I too cherish those memories of turning on the radio early in the morning, waiting calmly and collectedly for "District 20" to be announced, then exploding in a power jump herkie so emotive that sleeping in is no longer possible.  But now that I live in the land of snow, I find myself torn when reading about my friends' good fortune.  It's not that I miss the snow - no, quite the opposite.  From December to April of any given year there is more snow on the ground one day in Moscow than the accumulated 10 years of my childhood in Denver, Colorado.  The problem then?  Russia doesn't do "snow days."  

"Wait, wait, you're telling me that in America, you actually cancel school because there's some snow on the ground?"  I can just hear that mocking tone of my Russian friends now.  "If we canceled school every time we got hit with a snow storm, we'd be in school well into our 60's."  I swallow my pride with every snowflake:  planes take off and land, buses run on their normal schedules skidding in and out of bus stops, pedestrians go about their everyday life... life does not stop here for snow.  The very idea is laughable.  So the problem?  Naturally, I miss the occasional snow day.  I miss simply taking time to stop, grab a sled, and drink hot cocoa every hour on the hour as required by Colorado law (section 4, paragraph 6 of state ordinances) on snow days.  I feel somewhat jilted when my friends get a day of bliss for a level of snowfall we in Moscow probably got in the last few minutes it's taken me to write this blog.  I'm jealous, naturally.  But I'm also proud.  "You call that snow?"  I find myself saying to my computer screen as I enlarge my friends' pathetic pictures of their cars decorated with white powder.  I can almost make out the form of your car - it's not a snow storm until you can no longer distinguish a parking lot from an apartment building.  I laugh at your snow day, the Russian side of me calls out!  Maybe I'll look at your pictures the next time I need to explain to my friends here what a "dusting of snow" looks like.  

Thus you probably discern the dilemma.  Now that I'm too good for snow days, it's awfully hard to reconcile this pagne of envy that creeps over me when I read how much my friends heart snow days on a random Wednesday morning.  So, take your snow days, Colorado, this post is for you.  But know that on the other side of the world, we're going about our daily lives, turning up our noses at your sledding hills, and laughing at your cocoa (albeit with tears in our eyes.)




Kara said…
hmmm, as a native Coloradan, living in Russia, I must say that I MISS the snow in Colorado. Both in Irkutsk and Saint Pete, it is rare to get more than a few inches at a time. Maybe you get more in Moscow than we have in either of our homes. This year, despite the sever cold, we haven't had much. This week has been typical, with a fraction of an inch every day. But, as we always say, give us just enough to cover the dirt (and worse)!

It does pile up, eventually, since it never melts until March or April. Last year in Saint Pete was an exception, with larger snow storms, yet still nothing like the possible 2 or even 3 feet that cancelled school in the foothills of my childhood.

The other issue is that without depending on driving (read: school buses) there is no reason that everyone can't get to school. In a dense city, the roads get cleared, public transport carries the teachers, and there's no reason to not walk the 200m to your school!
It snowed here today, but alas, did not stick. All that is needed for a snow day is about an inch...
Culbert Report said…
Kara, Moscow is the first Russian city in which I've lived that actually gets a suitable amount of snow for my preferred snow-filled lifestyle. It is fun to watch it fall almost every day (at least in my opinion, Dan tends to disagree...) I think the slightly dryer climate here lends itself to a little more snowfall and pack than St. Pete perhaps, beating my Colorado childhood snowfalls in quantity substantially (perhaps the difference between Colorado Springs and Evergreen.) What I failed to mention in my blog is that Russia more than makes up for snow days in holidays - I think what I miss most is that small chance to stop and celebrate, even with an occasion so small as a snow day. That article you sent out a few weeks ago about the advantages of living in a big city listed: no snow days due to the reasons you mentioned. I just hadn't fully decided if that was an advantage in my book or not... the verdict is still out!

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