I’m feeling good. I just returned from being out, which I really needed after spending too much time indoors. I’ve been on the computer most of this last week, which is not my favorite place to be, but it is necessary since so much of my work and social life is connected to this screen and keyboard. Anyhow, after getting some lesson planning and emailing accomplished, I headed out into the cold sunny day. I walked to Lubava, the mall down the street a ways, and got a pot of tea and piece of Ukrainian cheesecake to accompany some more lesson planning. I browsed in a couple of shops afterwards, with an entirely predictable result in this land of very thin women. I tried on a couple of different items in Large, and wondered what a large size is meant for. A large squirrel? It’s fine, of course…goodness knows I don’t need more clothes. And one day I will be back in the U.S., Land of the Free and Home of the Large.
On my way home, I was thinking about the stages of snow, and where we are in the cycle right now.
- Freshly Made: This is the loveliest stage of snow, of course, when it puts a bright white coating on the world.
- Snow Beach: This is what happens when snow is left unshoveled, and everyone just keeps walking on it. Do not try this at home. It feels like walking on soft sand at the beach, except that there is an ice layer that lurks underneath. Try walking with an up-and-down motion if you don’t want to go sliding.
- Snow Beach for the Advanced Walker: Now you have surface snow that has hardened into slick, glossy patches alongside the still-not-shoveled snow shifting around on ice. Do not attempt this unless you are quite advanced. Look what happened to these folks.
- Wet Boot: The Wet Boot Stage is what happens when you get some rain mixed with warmer temperatures melting the snow. It would take rubber galoshes to keep your feet dry through the puddles of water and slush that form. With some athletic skill, you can climb over hardened snow banks and do some long jumps in order to avoid these lagoons.
- Crusty Brown Heaps: This is where we are right now. After the sun has allowed dry ground to once again emerge, the remaining snow sits to the side, crusty and brown, remembering its glory days until the cycle starts all over again. I can’t wait! (That is not sarcastic. I really do love being in this type of climate again!)
Earlier this week we were still in stages 2 and 3, and it was far colder; in fact, there was one day when I decided to walk home from the grocery store by the university, and was amused that I could walk for about two miles with groceries and never worry about the ice cream melting! By the way, a word to the wise: if you see a bag of ice cream with pictures of apricots, prunes, and peanuts on it, (see left), and you feel tempted to buy it (because who among us wouldn’t be?), just move on. I envisioned vanilla ice cream with chunks of fruits and nuts in it, but instead found that they had basically put everything in a blender and come out with a less-than-ideal result. My apologies to anyone reading this who loves it.
Where was I? Ah yes, on my way home from Lubava, pondering snow. Before reaching my apartment, I stopped off at McDonald’s for my celebratory 21-week-anniversary-of-coming-to-Cherkasy supper. When I gave my order, it was to a new guy I hadn’t had before, and he never panicked and pressed the alarm button under the counter or whatever they usually do to get other employees to come help handle me, AND he understood everything I asked for! I carried my tray away bursting with confidence and pride. Today is one of those days that I am feeling very comfortable and pleased to be here, in my Ukrainian hometown.