Texan Diaries: My First Winter
One of the things people always said to me before I came to Barnard was “Wow! New York! You’ll get snow there right?”
Yes, world, New York does get snow. For most people, this is fairly insignificant, but for me, this was a newfangled idea. See, I’m from Austin, Texas where it has “snowed” (aka slush-ed) exactly one time in my life. School is cancelled in Austin when it rains too much. We don’t even have the equipment to salt roads. So, as you can imagine, the idea of having a snow day? A foreign concept. But, it was also incredibly exciting, and I couldn’t wait for winter to arrive once I moved to New York.
When I arrived at Barnard I had practically no winter clothes. I owned a “winter jacket” that I had bought for a trip to Michigan a couple of years ago, but other than that I owned a collection of scarves and exactly three sweaters. I had a pair of boots that could double as snow boots, and I decided that I would buy the rest of the things I needed when the time came. In hindsight, this was a good idea considering that the winter gear they sell in Austin is completely insufficient to deal with a real winter.
So, in November, I grabbed two of my friends from Chicago (true Northerners) and we spent an hour in the REI on Lafayette Street. They used foreign words like “Omni-Heat” and “removable hoods” that meant absolutely nothing to me. My goal was to buy a coat that would last me, wasn’t too expensive, and that I could wear in the snow, rain, or just plain cold weather. The thing about New York weather is that is changes rapidly--one day it’s fifty and sunny, the next it’s twenty degrees and the wind blows so hard you can barely walk.
I ended up with a Columbia jacket that has gotten me through the winter and became my best friend along the way. This jacket combined with my scarf collection and some toasty gloves has made the winter bearable, and when Columbia had its first snow day on February 9th (the first in more than five years) it was a magical moment on campus. Students turned out on Low Steps in masses, a Facebook event for a campus-wide snowball fight started at noon, and I took dozens of photos with my friends in the snow. I even made my first snow angel!
As a Texan, my first New York winter turned out to be a blast. I had snowball fights, walked to work in the snowfall, and saw New York shut down in the face of a snowstorm. (Seeing Broadway with two cars on it? Quite a sight.) For all of my fellow Southerners, don’t be afraid of the cold weather! You’ll find that your new friends will be happy to teach you about their winter culture and you’ll (probably) have a blast experiencing it just like I did.