Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter Wonderings

I'm going to come off like a real jerk on this one. Just try to bear with me.

The blizzard of '11 was relatively major news down here in Argentina, even before it arrived. My wife's grandmother called us up to urgently direct us to warn my parents about the impending weather. Of course they were already prepared.

The Facebook messages came first. Many friends mocked the weather reports. They complained that the stores were sold out of bottled water while taking people to task for readying themselves like a nuclear attack was on the way. I wondered if I would be joining in in the snarky posturing or if I've matured enough to be more adult about the situation. At least I didn't have to decide.

And then the storm began to arrive, and once again Facebook was my source of news. "And so it begins," said one friend in a way that could have been anywhere from completely to not at all sarcastic. A few hours later calls of "Thundersnow!" rang out from all sides of the city. And it was good.

On the Buenos Aires morning news broadcast the day after, they showed subtitled interviews of stranded LSD motorists - before they had to ditch their cars. When I got to the office, all of my coworkers were asking about it. It was another reminder about how globally connected all of us are these days. And though we are smack dab in the middle of a beautiful summer here, I must say that I came away with mixed emotions.

All this news reminded me of how much joy the snow would bring when we were kids. It was never a hardship. On the contrary. My most vivid memory of grade school was a kickball game abruptly interrupted by the first icy flakes - not because of danger or worry, but because every kid on the blacktop had to celebrate the moment. Even helping my parents shovel the driveway was a chore we actually looked forward to, unlike, well, all the other ones. The best sledhill in town was at the end of my block. They permanently closed it because some unfortunate kid hit a tree. But it's got the most climbable fence in the world, so that didn't exactly stop us.

Even when I had to make the commute back from Schaumburg into town on those rare days when the snow would completely mess up everything and it would take three hours to get home, we just buckled up, took our time, and made the most of it. It felt like a small price to pay because it was something. Sure we lost some time, but it sure was pretty. (Note - I never had to abandon my car or anything, but seriously, I'm also not dumb enough to use Lake Shore Drive in a blizzard. Ah, there's the snark.)

I'm now three years removed from my last winter. Seeing all the photos, stories, videos, and more from Chicago, while I know that it has surely been a pain in the ass for a lot of people, I wish I could have been there to enjoy it. I still recall the last time this happened, January 1, 1999. There was no work that day anyway, so we watched movies, ate Chinese food and occasionally went outside to see how much had accumulated. And all of you will remember this day and your personal stories.

It's a gorgeous 85 degrees and sunny here. But in my longing, I appreciate such a gorgeous day all the less. What I wouldn't give to dive headlong into a pile of the powdery stuff right now. I guess I should head downstairs to the swimming pool I never have time to use. But it just seems so pedestrian by comparison.

All photos by Michael Apostolidis


lahill said...

There's hope Andrew. They've always got lots of snow in La Suisse. I've tried to ski in it.
El Viejo

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew,

Mike Feldman here, just catching up on all I have missed. Big COngrats on finding the one... Definitely sorry we have lost touch. Would like to reignite the flame, and would love to come out to visit.

get in touch with me, have tried to email you a few times but havent seen any replies so not sure which one you check.

wmail me at

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