I grew up in South Florida, home of the Everglades, mangroves, and alligators. The only skiing we do is in water. The first time I saw snow with my own eyes, I was 26 and on vacation with some friends, including my future husband, across the country to Tahoe for a ski trip. As we were driving up the mountain towards the ski resort, I saw snow falling from the sky. My friends indulged me and pulled over so I could get out of the car and stare up into the sky at the white flakes floating softly down around me. It has been many years, but I still feel the same magic when it snows.
I didn’t go very long before I saw snow again. In September of that year, I moved with my boyfriend, the one who had planned the Tahoe trip, to Virginia. That where I first saw tree branches and berries encased in ice, like they had been dipped in clear resin.
Eight years later, my husband, my daughter, and I moved from our home in Los Angeles to northern Indiana, where we experienced what they call “lake effect snow”. That means a lot of snow, constantly, throughout winter.
It was fun. And sometimes scary. When I hosted our first Thanksgiving there, beautiful giant snowflakes fell for the whole day. And I remember when we got snowed in on New Year’s Day and the whole town came to a stand still. I learned how to drive in snow up there and experienced many different types of snow, from big huge snowflakes to shining glittering snow dust, and everything in-between.
We learned that the best way to handle a cold snowy winter is to dress appropriately, embrace hygge, and, as our family motto advises, make your own fun. We try to squeeze as much fun as we can from winter, but my husband and I, being from Southern California and South Florida, respectively, still have a lot to learn. Our friends up in Minneapolis manage to get themselves out of the house to engage in a lot of outdoor activities in the winter; from what I have read, that is also what they do in the Scandinavian countries. Despite the cold and darkness, they just continue doing all the things that are fun and happy and healthy.