My little world-traveling, Third Culture Kids had never seen snow until this week. A lot of people have been surprised by this fact, especially considering the fact that we’re technically Michigan residents. (Sort of like the fact that I’m an American who has never been to California, despite having been all over the world.) But we’ve had sunny, warm African and Southeast Asian Christmases since the year Charlotte was born (2010). One year, we went to Italy to visit my parents when they were living there–but the only precipitation was a little bit of rain.
When we decided to come home for Christmas/Hanukkah this year, I told the girls not to get their hopes up about snow. Many years, it doesn’t snow until January in our part of Michigan.
We left Yangon last Wednesday evening. I remarked on how cool the air felt as we walked out to the car. During dry season, it’s still 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit, but the lack of humidity is a welcome respite. 30-something hours later, as we descended into Chicago, the pilot said it was five degrees. (Fahrenheit.) When we looked out the window and saw snow, the girls squealed in delight. Walking out to the parking lot, they wanted to play in a snow pile but I begged them to hurry up and get in the car. My lungs were so shocked by the cold, I actually needed my rescue inhaler for the first time in a long while.
When they finally got to play in the snow, it was adorable to watch. I taught them how to make snowballs and snow angels. (We tried to make a snowman, but it’s not great packing snow.) We went sledding on a nearby hill.
The girls quickly learned that it was much too cold to stay out for very long. With the exception of a trip to Grand Rapids to see The Nutcracker (which they LOVED), most of our time has been spent indoors, eating lots of sugar and waiting for the weather to warm up enough to melt the snow on the sidewalks.
Saugatuck-Douglas is still charming in winter, but a lot of the shops are closed for the season. Life here is a lot different without the beach, the trips for frozen yogurt or ice cream, the hikes through the state park. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, and I am grateful to live in a place where I never even need a sweater. But I’m even more grateful to spend these two weeks with my family, and to see the girls experience a little taste of Michigan winter. It’s not nearly long enough, but I’ll take it!