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Commentary: First blizzard leaves me winded

BY MARLEEN LINARES | DECEMBER 10, 2009 7:30 AM

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The winter and I do not get along.

I made the decision to attend the UI after visiting campus twice: once just before winter set in and once right after it had ended.

Unlike right now, the campus was bathed in sunlight, and vegetation grew healthily all around.

Whenever I proudly announced my college decision to any of my family and friends, they quickly reminded me of the terribly brutal winters I should expect. But I would just laugh it off and insist I would be fine.

How naïve was I?

As news of the first winter storm of the semester came through Tuesday evening, reactions from those around me were mixed. The meteorologists said the storm would be the “worst in the past 10 years,” describing it as “extremely dangerous” and “hazardous” weather.

But my friends — most of whom are from Iowa — just shrugged their shoulders, explaining to me that the media was hyping up the storm and that “this kind of thing always happens.”

Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, where schools shut down and supermarket shelves are left bare when temperatures drop below 30 and an inch of rain falls, the news of the “truly frightful” storm coming our way was, well, truly frightening.

And my friends only confirmed my fear that I lack winter-survival skills.

They warned me of winds reaching 45 mph or more (“What? Cars go that fast!”), the “white outs” (“How do you cross the street?” “You don’t.”) and the negative double-digit temperatures (No comment).

But I, innocently enough, wanted to stay positive and planned on facing this “hyped up” storm with full force.

And I failed. Miserably.

Walking in freezing temperatures is not fun. Trudging through snow as the wind whips up thousands of flakes into my face is unbearable. And my face turning a shade of red I’ve never seen before is less than favorable.

So much for a Winter Wonderland.

And though I might seem to be a little dramatic about the snowstorm, I’m not alone in my low opinion of this kind of weather. For example, 94 UI students are from Florida, 185 come from Texas, and 323 moved here from California.

UI freshman Layla Peña is originally from Muscatine, but her family moved to California when she was 6.

“This is like my first winter all over again because it’s the first I can remember,” she said. “I’m trying to stay inside as much as possible.”

My first blizzard was an interesting experience, to say the least. And just as I began to slowly adjust to this weather, one of my friends gave me some encouraging words.

“Just wait until February,” he said. “That’s when the ice comes.”


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