Friday, February 8, 2013

A Few Musings from a Snowy Night

No doubt being in the mountains has its perks. I'm surrounded by incredible natural beauty that manages to shine no matter the time of day or weather conditions. The climate here is always a few degrees cooler than in the city, so our summers aren't quite as unbearable as they are elsewhere. There's also a sense of community that naturally grows from everyone working together and living in the shade of the same mountains. You can hardly help it-- most folks know each other and quite a few have spent thier entire lives nestled together here.

However, being in these particular mountains also means we periodically get DESTROYED BY SNOW.

                                          Sorry for the wonky dimensions. It's the iPhone.

I love snow-- don't mistake me. It gets even better because I don't have to drive anywhere, and I bought knee high snow boots so every time I leave my house to go to school I literally feel like I'm embarking on an adventure. It also gives me tons of reasons to shirk other responsibilities. For example, 6/7 nights out of the week I'm "too tired to cook dinner", so I buy the discount food at the store. For the uninitiated, this is fresh sushi/fried rice/sundries that they want to sell instead of keep and risk it spoiling. So every day, like clockwork, a bunch of WICKED food gets discounted at 5:00. Guess when I JUST SO HAPPEN to be walking by the supermarket?


The snow's not the problem though. It's the pervasive COLD. The cold is the third person in every conversation, the shadow on every plan and a drop of disappointment and frustration in every glass of honeyed milk. Now you're probably asking yourself why I'm so dramatic about my walk to school. Of course it's cold! It's winter time! Right? No, that's not what I mean. I mean that it's cold everywhere-- in particular my school.


Yes, you can see your breath in the hallways of school. Most of the other ALTs are hardened and unimpressed by this, as we ALL have cold schools I think. But wait; there's a new wrinkle! This bad boy:
Yes, Mr.Sunpot. In case you couldn't see because of all the annoying crap I put in that video, it says sunpot right on the front of this bad boy. That's why I call it Sunpot. Sunpot is a kerosene powered beast of a machine who spits his noxious fumes into the chimney so you don't die. Each classroom is equipped with one of these monstrosities, and the kids have to fill it up with kerosene at the end of each day, or I guess if they run out from nuking the classroom with sunpower (for real though-- some classes like it REALLY warm). You put a kettle of water on top of the contraption so it belches steam into the air, because wet air holds warmth better than dry air. Yes, there is always a kettle of boiling water in the back of every classroom. In between classes myself and the students do this dance around Sunpot, where first we turn around so our backs are basking in sunwarmth, then we crouch next to it and shove our hands too close to the sun, then we stand up and do finger dances over the steam from the boiling water and dare each other to touch the chimney. Hey, we're only in middle school.

And one last thing about the cold-- during cleaning time, all the girls change into thier gym wear, which is SHORTS and ONE LONG SLEEVED SHIRT. SHORTS, I SAY. Today, after I shovelled the walkway to the shed where the kids change for sports (jeez, that sounds awful when I read it again), I was standing around smiling to myself cause I done a good thing for my kiddies. Then a bunch of them came running out in shorts and T-F*&%$ING SHIRTS screaming about how cold it is and then diving face first into the snow. I kid you not. Am I the only one here who has yet to lose his mind?
Won't be long though. When you gaze into the abyss,
the abyss gazes back into you.

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