Walking to pick Benjamin up from school today, I got to experience my first snow in Vienna. It wasn’t much — just enough to put a thin coating on the grassy areas and fallen leaves, but I got excited anyway. I love the snow. I love how it covers everything over with a sparkling white blanket, making even familiar landscapes magical. I love how sounds change when there’s snow on the ground, or when it’s falling — everything is a little more quiet. And I guess I still associate snow with getting to have an unexpected break in my normal routine — even though I haven’t had a real “snow day” in years, I tend to treat very snowy days a little differently, as days to play more than I work, to drink hot chocolate and read a book, to not worry about whether everything gets done.
People seem to think of Vienna as a snowy city, but it’s really not. Vienna is a pretty dry place, compared to where I come from (even in the winter). I guess it’s the image of Alpine Austria that puts everyone in that mindset. It’s certainly cold enough for snow here (I think we’ve been a few days in a row now without going above freezing). As I understand it, Vienna is cold all winter, with regular, but pretty small, snowfalls. We actually get about half the winter precipitation here that got at home (but more “wet days”, so it’s just spread out more).
When I got to the school and met Benjamin in his classroom, he took me over to the glass doors so he could show me that it was snowing outside. He was so excited. We went outside, and he immediately bent down and started scooping snow out of a leaf to make a snowman. When I explained that we’d need a little more snow for that, he put the snow in his mouth so he could “catch it on his tongue”. I also explained that it’d probably be better to actually catch them from the air, instead of eating them off of a leaf.
It snowed on and off all day, and we found ourselves out in it several times. Benjamin was equally enthusiastic each time. I’m as excited as he is, and I’m having a lot of fun watching him enjoy it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a lot of snow this year in Vienna . . . especially between now and Christmas!