First of all, the title is not entirely true. Sort of a misnomer. I grew up in Tennessee where yes, it does snow and at least get regularly cold in the winter. Then I moved to Chicago, where it really does snow every year. More recently, I was in Oxford, England and Cambridge, MA during their winter months. But for the time in between, I grew up in Austin, TX. The last time it really snowed there was when I was thirteen. It was Valentine’s Day and though it came down thick enough in the morning for snowball fights, building snowmen, and sledding, all had melted away by 3 pm and we were back to wearing just hoodies in February.
I have been warned many many times about Toronto weather. People in Texas looked at me like I was accepting a death sentence. “It’s cold up there. You know that, right?” I thought my friends and new connections up north would be more supportive, but they seemed to look at me as a Texan only. They couldn’t see through to the little girl who used to stay out in the Chicago snow for hours building an igloo. (And my igloo was incredible.) I began to worry that going up to a new city, a new country, and a new climate would be a really rough transition for me.
It’s still going to be an adjustment. I’ve been told that I’m going to hate coming back to Toronto in January to a much longer winter season–one that doesn’t go above 0 degrees Celsius for months. I’ve been told that my winter coat is good (thank goodness I passed that never-ending quiz), but that I need more hats and scarves and socks. I’ve been told that the first year’s winter will be hard, but that if I’m up here longer my blood will adjust. I’ve been told . . . so many things. Canadians really like talking about weather–and so do my American friends.
Nevertheless, I want to remember that today was magic. When I left my apartment, I could see a bit of white clutching to the flowerbeds as I walked to yoga. But when I left the studio, a new batch of snow flurries were pouring down from the sky. Honestly, it’s magical because I don’t quite know what it call it all yet. It’s so unlike rain and sleet that I don’t know what to say. Is it still considered a flurry? What does it look like when it’s blizzarding? I don’t want to exaggerate to the true winter experts. I almost got lost in a particularly windy and snowy patch while walking to a friend’s apartment, but that almost made it more exciting to finally turn around and find the address I’d been looking for all along. Just floating towards me through the drifts of little snowflakes blowing past.
I may not be so enthusiastic in the morning when the white blanket of snow all over the alley and backyard outside my apartment are not new, but still there and a bit more icy and frozen than before. For tonight, it’s new, it’s magical, it’s my moment. It’s another reason why moving way out of my comfort zone to come to Toronto has been a worthwhile experience.