Friday, November 30, 2012

Snow Legs

It started snowing Wednesday night and hasn't stopped since. And just like that, winter was upon us.

On Thursday morning at 7am I slipped and slid my way down the street in the dark to my work just three blocks away.  In just 2-4 inches of snow I was hesitant and nervous about falling and the walk which normally takes 10 minutes took double the time.

But this morning I stepped out my front door into two feet of snow, and realized that I had found my snow legs! Now I'm trekking through 2-4 FEET of snow like a pro again. I've collected some of the photos floating around my Facebook feed so you can see what's it like here on the ground!  I hear they're calling this blizzard 'Antti'.

It's amazing how much snow changes the look and feel of the city. I remember when I was living in Russia last year I came to Helsinki from mid-April to mid-May, and when I returned to St. Petersburg all the snow had completely melted. I wouldn't have recognized my street except for the huge American flag hanging over the consulate building!

I'm a bit embarrassed about what happened today: I took the metro to Sörnäinen as I do every Friday afternoon to setup for catering events at one of our venues. There are multiple exits out of the metro which pop up on different corners of a Y-shape intersection. I always go out the same exit, which positions me to walk straight down the street a few blocks to the venue. For some reason, though, I came up out of the metro this afternoon and nothing looked familiar. I wondered if I had gotten off at the wrong stop. But no, the sign definitely read Sörnäinen. So I assumed I had just walked out the wrong exit, and crossed the street and started walking.  It was snowing horizontally and the winds were really picking up. But I pushed on. Ten minutes later, I found myself on an overpass I had never seen before, my arms wrapped around a streetlight pole - holding on for dear life because the winds were so strong and threatening to push me over the railing into the snowy traffic abyss below. I was crying tears that were freezing immediately on my cheeks, and I was completely lost.  I had no idea what to do. I was late for work by this time, and I was feeling like I better just sit down and wait for someone to find me, because I sure wasn't able to find anything. I couldn't fathom how the city had changed so much. No sidewalks. No tram rails. No lines on the street nor crosswalks. Just a blanket of white.

I stood there holding onto that pole for a few minutes, trying to gather myself together. I finally called my boss and said that I knew I was on the right street because I was staring up at the name on a street sign on a corner building, but somehow I couldn't find the restaurant. He started laughing and said he'd come out looking for me.  I remembered that the restaurant is No. 13 on the street and finally found an address on the building that said No. 70.  Apparently I had ended up on the wrong side of the street in the completely opposite direction from the metro. So I walked back to the metro, crossed the street and   four blocks later finally stepped into the restaurant.  My face red from embarrassment as much as the cold, I peeled off my many layers and got to work.  Man, it was work just getting there!

Though all this white powder isn't always so convenient, there are up sides: The eight inches of snow I found on my windowsill this morning inspired me to turn on the Christmas music early this year and it makes all those classic songs feel so much more legitimate! 


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