After only 2.5 hours in my attempt to arrive at work, during which I discovered I had left my cell phone at home so I couldn’t do either of the favorite Italian pastimes: Call someone, anyone, and complain about the situation, or call my boss and tell him I was staying home; I continued on to work where I discovered my boss didn’t make it into work, either.
If you read any of my fellow expats‘ blogs here in Italy, you’ll know that snow’s all we can talk about. We can’t help it, though. It’s all-consuming.
To give you an idea of how much snow, the Repubblica predicts another 30cm today to our already 40cm that fell in 24 hours. Milan is totally unprepared for this type of weather. I saw very few cars with chains on, including the buses. Cars that haven’t been moved since the snowing started are unrecognizable – they are now a complete snow mountain on the side of the street.
Here at work, it felt like we are approaching Christmas once again. A big snowball fight happened at lunch since the courtyard is buried in a foot of snow. Snowballs are so easy to make when you just swipe it off a buried car.
Here’s the view outside our office:
Mostly, I’m in awe of what it looks like outside, but also, a little worried. Since we don’t have transportation other than public transportation (I won’t include our bicycles in 2 feet of snow) we could very likely be stuck at home for a bit. Last time it snowed, some snow remained on the ground for at least 3 weeks, since the sun was so low in the sky.
As I took the train home, we skipped along at a productive yet cautious speed. I felt that I had to keep wishing for the train to make it so that it could. The last place I wanted was to be stuck in the middle of the countryside on a train.
I could feel areas where the snow was higher on the tracks, and it rubbed against the train as it went by. My feet on the floor vibrated with the slight impact. I hoped our little regional train, with its slower locomotive could be an effective snowplow. It had to be. I had skipped lunch to get home earlier (though I admit I ate quite a lot of cookies for breakfast) and I brought my bottle of water from the office on survival instinct.
The landscape as we returned home was completely blanketed and devoid of color. I could hardly distinguish a tree from any other object, and the rice fields, normally so carefully dammed and separated from each other, became a monotonous sea of white.
In between towns, the snowing increased and the random snow-covered bush next to the tracks was the only landmark I had. I saw a blanket of white.
It wasn’t like the time I went to Lake Tahoe, one April. We laughed at ourselves as we passed browned hill after browned hill and our thoughts of skiing or snowboarding went out the door. That night, it snowed and we woke up to a wonderful land full of snowball fights, snow angels and purity. THAT was fun – I remember laughing as we struggled to put chains on my car while waiting in line to access the highway.
This was very different.
Snow has a way of muting everything. The noise, the traffic, the odors, and colors. You smell it, the clean, the fresh, the silence. Snow manages to be at once an object and a sensation.
Though it was really no cause for alarm, it made me realize how (opposite of autonomous) I was. No matter how bad Trenitalia is considered, I rely on it to get me to work every day. I rely on Pavia’s transportation to get me to and from the station.
Thank god I decided to buy the Teflon “after-ski” boots while I was in Manfredonia. I actually considered this week that I might no have opportunity to wear them again. I tuck my pants in them in an imitation of the latest fashion, but I can’t imagine that this is how they envisioned their models to look. Toes soaked and visibly darkening the fabric, my feet remained quite dry, or at least, I still couldn’t distinguish between the cold and wet. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t, but I felt fine.
Everyone was talking about “stocking up” and how they could last for a while, but we had been running low for quite some time. How should I gamble? Lengthen my trip home but get a few essentials? Could I stock up enough without my backpack and adequate space on the bus? If the bus passed. I had no information about Pavia other than there was a “local emergency state” declared just like most of the small towns involved in the snow.
The California girl in me was thinking, what am I doing here, while at the same time, acknowledging that I’ve been quite sheltered by the weather. I am not a person that craves four distinct seasons, though I’ve realized I appreciate a crisp sunny day more than a hot one. You lose the clarity that comes on brisk day.
Think good thoughts. Maybe we’ll get a three-day weekend if it keeps up.