Foreign Perspective: My First Real Winter

Florio.ForeignPerspectiveWinter is certainly not my favorite season. Winters are cold, wind, rainy, and, for some people, bring an annual dose of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  What I just described is a typical winter for me, but is missing one crucial aspect of American winters: snow. Since coming to Penn State I’ve come to realize that Australian winters are quite mild compared to the American winter. I’ll never complain about 41 Fahrenheit and rain again.

I don’t come from a place where it snows in the winter. Sometimes you wake up and there’s a thin layer of ice on the ground and on the car windscreen, but that’s as bad as winter gets.

The first time I experienced snow was last semester as I was walking to classes. I remember seeing the little white specks landing on my jacket and thinking, “This is gross! It’s just turning to water and getting my clothes wet!” I still don’t like it when it snows, but there are some great things I want to do in the snow before I return home.

Building a snowman might seem pretty boring to Americans since they have probably built plenty of snowmen since childhood, but for me it’s a childhood activity I missed out on. With Disney’s Frozen having been released recently, I can’t help but want to build a snowman like Olaf. As well as wanting to build a snowman, I also want to have a snowball fight, make a snow angel, and go sledding. While these things might seem pretty mundane to anyone who grew up with snow, for those who didn’t it’s pretty exciting.

I was lucky enough to escape to California for the winter break, meaning I missed the polar vortex. I’m not sure I’d be able to live on the east coast where the temperature in the winter hits 6 Fahrenheit. There have been some awfully cold days at Penn State already, and I’m told there are a lot more on the way, but instead of complaining I’m going to try and enjoy my first “real” winter.

Photo by Sam Florio