As we continue our way through February, New England continues to get pounded with snow. I can’t even tell you how much we have at this point, but with each new storm, including today’s, the snow is piled so high that it comes up to Adina’s head. There is more to come too as temperatures continue to be in the single digits or below zero, Fahrenheit.
Winter in Israel was miserable for me. The apartment was so cold at times that I could see my breath. I would walk around indoors wearing three or four layers, trying to minimize our use of the heat because electricity can get expensive. Our second year, we eventually figured things out with the plastic wrap over the windows, basically living in one room of the apartment with good comforters and a heater running, and lots of layers. Even then, I was always wishing we were back in America where there was heat and insulation that kept everything at a constant and comfortable temperature of 68-70°F (20-21°C). Let me tell you, the grass is always greener on the other side.
With subfreezing temperatures a constant, I still find myself walking around the apartment and heading to work wearing three to four layers. Often I keep my hat on when I first get home because it keeps me warmer. Despite the fact that the heat is set to that comfortable 68°F, there is always a chill in the air. We even started putting plastic wrap over the windows to help provide an extra layer of insulation.
Going outside is no picnic. There is the quick run to the car with Adina when it is ridiculously cold while trying to get her to keep her hat and mittens on. Despite her compulsion to take the mittens off, even she has learned that there is a point where it is cold enough to make it worth while to keep them on. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the agonizing 10 minutes of freezing cold while I try to get the car warm to the walks to the grocery store in 40°F rain. Yet, things are not as warm and cozy as I remember them.
There are a few benefits to winter here compared to Israel and some benefits to winter in Israel compared to here. First, the hot water situation is much better here in Connecticut. There is no need to plan 30 minutes in advance to make enough hot water to get you through that 5 minute shower. The hot water is there, almost instantly, and it seems very plentiful. Snow days are great when you can stay inside all day, getting work done or playing with your adorable child. Plus, playing in snow is way more fun than playing in the rain. Skiing and snow shoeing continue to be favorite activities for our family. We haven’t gone as much as we would like because as educators our weekends are always filled with grading and planning, but the little that we have done so far has been great. Adina has also learned the wonders of snow. She loves to dig her mittened-hands right into it and toss it on the ground or in the air. She loves being pulled around in her toddler sled and we have built a number of snowpeople at this point. She likes them better when they are around her size, which is cute. Plus, there is nothing like a cup of hot chocolate after a good play in the snow.
The main benefit of an Israeli winter is that it is shorter. We are already up to 6 snow days and there is probably another one this week. Despite the equinox in late March that marks the beginning of spring, this wintery weather could last all the way into April. Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish celebration of the trees which fell on February 4th this year, was marked in Israel by blooming almond trees and the return of growth throughout the country. In New England, the trees sparkle with icicles, but there are no flowers or buds anywhere in site. It makes it more challenging to bring meaning to this awesome holiday. We did our best though because it is important.
I have also learned that snow is more fun when you are a kid, and that the cold rain of Israeli winters is preferable as an adult who has to drive a car to get places. We have spent hours getting the snow and ice off our cars, and I have had many hours of worry as Adam has to venture out on icy or partially plowed roads because classes at his job haven’t been cancelled. It could be worse though. Our landlord has someone plow the driveway so at least we don’t have to shovel all that snow.
So the reality is, no matter where you live, winter is cold and dreary, but an important season because it makes you more appreciative of the warmer, sunnier parts of the year. 🙂
Until next time…
A few pictures just for fun!