Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Make it Stop!

By Robin, Cultural Embrace Teach in China program

My opinions about snow seem to change on the daily, but today, I love love love it!!!! I woke up this morning to find that while I was sleeping, Yantai had gotten dumped on with about 6 inches or so. Well, at least that is dumping to me. Those of you who are from the Midwest are probably laughing at me, but this was a big deal.

I was going to walk but after talking to Jeff I decided to take the scooter. “It’s just powder.” So I get down there and after freaking out about how white and beautiful everything was, and how deep my footprints were, I made my way over to the bike. I wish I had taken a picture. I had to sweep off a layer of snow that was about as tall as my hand if I stood it up on top of the bike seat. The whole basket was filled with snow. After I brushed everything off, the hard part was getting the aforementioned vehicle out of the snow that came up to my mid-calf. It went something like this. I sat on the scooter, did like a million point turn to get it faced the right direction, and then half walked, half rode it out to the street. The snow came up to the bottom of the part where you put your feet up, and you couldn’t tell that there was a curb because the snow had leveled everything out. I left some pretty amazing tracks behind me as I attempted to swim through the snow.

I only made it about halfway to school before I hit the section where they had stopped plowing. I tried to flail through but felt like too much of an idiot to keep going, so I ditched the bike and walked the rest of the way to class. It was so beautiful! The sun was out, most of the snow was still white and untouched, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep looking at how perfect it was, or if I wanted to run all over and mess it up because it was too perfect. But I was late to class as it was anyways, so I left the snow alone.

A few things to note about when it snows in China. Recently we found out they have a giant snow plow, but they only bust that out in extreme situations. Otherwise, it is good old fashioned man power. This means that they equip the freshmen with about two thousand shovels, and send them out into the streets. So today, as I was making my way back from class, I ran into a roadblock that went something like this. The snowplow had cleared about a 5 foot path in the road so that I could get by on my way to class. But now, the students had been sent out, so this entire 5 foot wide path was swarming with them. I literally had to honk and yell and half walk the bike through this group of students, who found it necessary to call out “hello!” and laugh at me as I scooted by. It was like a one woman parade.

Another thing that I felt was particularly brilliant was the behavior of the few cars that decided to go out this morning. There were only about three that I saw moving, but all three of them decided it was necessary to park their cars in the middle of the only plowed section of the road. Needless to say, I did not enjoy having to make my own way through the snowdrift on either side of the vehicles. I can only hope that there was some good reason they felt the need to park there, but I think it is highly unlikely that there is.

So today, aside from a few hiccups, I like snow. I love the way it sits on the branches of the trees so that the whole hillside is white with green peeking through. I love how white and smooth it is before anyone has walked on it, and I love how it provides endless entertainment for me as I sit inside with my hot chocolate and watch the freshmen shovel, sweep, and chip away at it.

Oh China.

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