The wind is blowing quite hard right now, and my husband commented that maybe it was finally getting ready to snow. So I took a quick look at the 5 day forecast for Beijing. And saw five of these:
While I like a clear, windy, cold day as much as the next person, we came to Beijing — the North — in hopes of seeing snow. Those hopes are slowly fading.
I’ve never lived in a place where snow was common. I started off my life in Georgia, then grew up in South Carolina, and then spent my young adulthood in Texas. After I graduated I moved to Kunming. These places don’t have a whole lot in common, but one trait they do share is the fact that snow in any one of those locales sends people into a panic. When it snowed about 6 inches one year when I was a child in Charleston, South Carolina, the newscasters called it “the winter blizzard of ’89” without a touch of irony. When we got a dusting of light snow we’d all rush outside and make pathetic snowmen that were about 2 feet tall. Kunming was more of the same, with a high altitude that would have ensured Denver-like conditions if not for the fact that we were about the same distance from the equator as Puerto Rico. We didn’t get much snow there either. In fact, my life to this point has been devoid of anything even remotely resembling a blizzard or a snowstorm.
So my husband and I, when we moved to Beijing last year, we were bracing ourselves for a long, cold winter. A winter with snow. We’d seen the pictures, and we’d heard from friends up north, and we thought we knew what to expect. Sometime around November we went out shopping and got the baby a snowsuit and a pair of woolly boots in anticipation. We felt a bit like we were preparing for a hurricane, stocking up for the winter ahead.
But the winter has been tame so far. Sure, it gets quite windy, and it does get quite cold. Right now the winds are about 35km/h, and the temperatures are between -6C and -18C, and that’s on a sunny day! This is colder than either of us have ever experienced, and yet, without snow, it feels somehow incomplete. In 10 days we’ll be heading down to Hainan Island, where there is zero chance of snow, to spend a week on the beach. When we come back, it’ll be almost mid-February, which feels to me, almost too late. So it had better start snowing sometime between now and the end of the month, because if we moved all the way up North without even getting a chance to build a proper snowman, I’ll feel a bit cheated to tell the truth.