Snow is here, so is the challenge

Today we got the first snow of the season.

I woke to several inches of snow on the ground. It’s midnight now, still snowing.

My kids love snow. They were excited to go out to shovel the snow and play in the snow.

I, on the other hand, don’t like snow, for one reason. It makes driving so hard.

The place where I grew up in China is on the east coast near Shanghai. We didn’t have much snow. When we had snow, it didn’t stay on the ground for long. But here in Minnesota, the snow can stick around for months.

I learned driving after I came to the U.S. in 1991. I was in my late twenties. So both driving and driving on the slippery road do not feel natural to me, as it could be for someone who learned to drive in her teens and grew up in Minnesota.

What’s more, I was once involved in a fatal traffic accident in Germany. I was a passenger in a car. We were driving on the city street early in the morning on a weekend. There was hardly any traffic. A guy was crossing the street from the other side where there was no pedestrian crossing. We slowed down, but since he stopped in the middle island, we kept going. But suddenly he started walking again. He got hit by our car on the windshield and then landed on the ground. He was taken to the hospital and died. We were told that he was drunk. 

It wasn’t the driver’s fault, but still, the accident was a pretty dramatic experience for me as I was on the passenger side.

All these resulted in my dislike of driving. I avoid driving if I don’t have to. I am slow and careful when I drive.

I get really nervous when I have to drive on snowy days, especially when the road is slippery. A normal 20-minute drive to work can be a real challenge for me. It could take more than an hour or two.

The really scary experience occurs when you lose control of your car and it turns around by itself and you can’t do anything about it except feel your heart beat fast and say a quick prayer: “God, help!!!”

I don’t mind cold weather, as long as it doesn’t snow. In fact, super hot or super cold weather doesn’t bother me much.

I was accustomed to temperature changes while growing up. We didn’t have air conditioning and heating in the house at that time. No one else had either in our region.

During summer, the temperature could get to over 10o degree Fahrenheit. We slept on the wood floor or spent the night under the sky on a bamboo chair, with mosquitoes as our company.

During winter, the temperature gets down below freezing. We wore the same winter jacket inside the house and outside the house, and used hot water bottle to warm our bed and feet when we went to bed. The biggest challenge was to get out of the warm bed and get up to a cold temperature in the morning. But comparing to driving on the slippery road, that felt like a piece of cake now. At least my life was not in any danger.

Nowadays, life is really comfortable. There is always air conditioning or heating to make life comfortable. And we get quite spoiled. People often complain about too hot or too cold inside the building. Because we live in the controlled environment, we have less tolerance for any temperature change. That’s never a problem for me. I have a very high tolerance for temperature change, but a low tolerance for snow.

So far I have lived in three different states (Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota) in the U.S., all in the Midwest region. If I ever move away from the region, it’s most likely because I can’t stand the snow any more and the challenge to drive on snowy days and on slippery road is too much for me to bear.