Passport to Poconos – Endless Winter



Dear Mari Carmen,


Every year in the middle of December you find the cold weather too much for you and go to Panama to visit your sister and to stay away from the freezing weather. Lucky you!



Last time I went to Spain, it was in the middle of winter, and my friend Gabriela, a Panamanian, said: “How wonderful, you’re going to the warm weather.”  I had to remind her that winter in Spain is really winter. Though the weather in different parts of Spain varies from mild to really cold, I’ve never experienced anything like the winters in New York and the Poconos. The weather here is something that you can only explain if you live it.  It feels like a block of ice hit you on the face!


The first time I saw a lot of snow was in Upstate New York. It was so white that it reminded me of those landscapes I had seen in Christmas movies. I enjoyed how white everything was. “Wait until it gets muddy” everyone said.


When I moved to New York City from Spain, I experienced the seasons for the first time. Seeing the seasons change is one of the beautiful things about living in the Northeast. And the first season I lived through was winter. Winter is very different in New York City than it is in the Poconos.


In the City everything is white and pretty until a few hours later when it becomes soupy and muddy. Once it turns to slush and soup, just walking on the street or waiting for the bus or getting to the subway can be an adventure. Avoid being splashed by cars, avoid slipping on the streets, and avoid slipping when you’re going down the subway stairs.


Being in the Poconos during the winter is a different challenge. I learned a few things I never had to learn from my old life: dress properly, watch the black ice, try not to drive in the snow or ice, and if you do, be careful and drive slowly. After taking all the measures and you still skid, the directions say ¨turn in the direction of the skid.” But which direction is that? The direction I´m skidding towards or the direction I´ve skidded from? Front or back of the car? I still haven´t figured that one out.


People tell me how they panicked when it happened to them and swore not to drive until the weather got better. It happened to us a few weeks ago when we were on our way to a dinner party. My husband kept repeating: “We might have to turn around” and I kept saying “I’m sure we can make it, it should get better soon.” (it didn´t, it got worse).


If you’re not used to driving or driving on freezing icy roads, you’ll remember all your prayers in a second.  I did and I made a point to remember not be so adventurous in areas unknown to me. My prayers were answered that night by my iPhone GPS, which led us ten miles around on an alternate road that had been plowed.


I also enjoy some new pleasures like walking in the snow and learning to cross country ski. But the best thing is watching the snowflakes from the warmth and comfort of the house.  If you have a fireplace (we don´t), that makes it even more special.


I’m ready for Spring.








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