Coming from Southern Texas I can honestly say that I have never fully experienced a “true” winter. I come from a land that cancelled school because there was ice on the ground (yes, we called these days “ice days”) and I never saw actual snow until I was 18 years old (in Oregon). Really what I am trying to relate is that I was overjoyed to experience snow for the first time. I had grand plans to make a snow angel, have a snowball fight, and build a snow man that was higher than my knees.
This day came in the middle of January, the first snow fall in St. Louis that stuck. However, my dreams of snowflakes and sleds quickly became a not-so-charming reality. You see, the first snow fall was the same day as my first day of practicum (an equally exciting adventure). I was a bit shocked to find that the city did not close and people were casually driving to work like it was no big deal. So, I mustered up the courage, gave myself a pep talk and got in my car. How hard could driving int he snow really be? Ha!
I started driving to my practicum, very slowly. So far so good. I made no quick stops or turns. Doing well so far. Just breathe. I entered the access ramp to the highway and then it happened. My wheels started turning. A small feat to you Northerners; a confusing deed to us noobies. I drive a red mustang with rear wheel drive (i.e., a non winter car). My wheels just turned and turned and cars started piling up behind me. I wanted to rip my huge Texas licence plate off of my car. I ended up backing my car up, which allowed cars to pass. In my state of panic I noticed a man walking up the access ramp in the snow. I rolled down my window and he looked at me and asked politely, “Is this your first time?” I said yes, and he gave me some pointers. He pushed me out of the snow and I turned around and drove back home to look up a bus route.
Aside from this story being rather comical, it demonstrates that St. Louis is a wonderful place to live. It never ceases to amaze me how many diverse, interesting, caring people I have met over the past 5 months in St. Louis and the Brown School. I would like to tell you that my winter story is unique, but it is not. Everyday I hear stories of how this town has taught one of friends something new about themselves, a different culture, or new friends. I witness fellow classmates teaching others about their passion while they allow to be taught something new from their peers in return. The faculty and staff demonstrate their abundant knowledge while being willing to open their minds to new ideas. This open, safe, and compassionate community has become my home.
Today the Groundhog saw its shadow, which means there could be six more weeks of winter. If this winter continues to be as “warm natured” as this one has proven to be, I say Bring it on (and thank goodness Wash U provides free metro passes for us who have rear wheel drive).