Saturday, March 21, 2009


This I wrote my first winter in the US 2003-2004:

My husband, three kids, a dog and I moved from Guatemala to Baldwin City last December.  My husband is American and I was born and raised in Guatemala and had lived there all my life.  I had been in the US and Europe on vacation in winter time so I thought I new what winters were like.

 Well needless to say it’s not the same to vacation than to live in it.  The first two weeks it was interesting and winter had a charm to it, plus we were busy finding a house, etc.

We also went through our share of culture shock; I had never had to pay so much attention to weather in my life.  I was used to just be out and about and had no such thing as winter clothes and summer clothes I just had clothes to use year round.  On our second here we were going outside for a walk to have the girls, Nicole 4 and Megan 2, experience the weather. 

We bundle them up but they refused to put hats and mittens on. In their mind, that was the most ridiculous and unnecessary thing to do.  They ran out took four steps and ran back and agreed to do it and from then on all through the winter. Our son Alex 14, started going to school right away. 

The second week we were here Tom, my husband, had to go out of town and by then we only had one car. On Tuesday night it snowed quite a bit and the next morning I got my son up and waited for the bus. The bus didn’t come so I assumed we have missed it and sent Alex to school walking on the snow.  Forty minutes later he comes back freezing letting me know there was no school. We had no idea about this school cancellations or how to know about them,  I still feel terrible about it to this day.

My parents then came and visit for Christmas and we were out and about trying not to mind to much the weather  but my mom did say that this was the coldest she had ever been “When I go out no matter all the coats I have on I feel as cold as if I were on shorts, the cold goes all the way into the bones!”

Then came January and the warmth of Christmas and my parents was gone. It was terrible I think I got cottage fever.  I couldn’t get warm enough in the house, just thinking about going to bed made be even colder, I couldn’t get warm enough in bed and the thought of having to get up in the middle of the night to bring milk to the girls or go to the bathroom was horrifying. I had a picture in my mind of me freezing  on the way.  I had a terrible time getting going in the morning and through the day, it seemed like the sun was never really up. Then the sun went away so early and I felt like I wanted to sit down and cry. I was suffering. I tried and look for activities or places to go and everything seemed to be closed until spring. It was to cold to go outside and play.  We did join story time at the library and took the girls to a music program but even the girls then started saying “Mom I think we can go back now to the house with the big yard and the flowers”.  Every morning when I woke up  I still had in my mind the ever green panorama of Guatemala and was confronted with the brown and gray leafless trees. I told Tom that if I hadn’t been in the summer  before I didn’t think I’d believe there was one. By March I was hopeless I couldn’t imagine ever again being warm and cheery. I started thinking this was the one year summer wasn’t going to come…… and that is when it started happening:

Spring started coming…  Guatemala is called land of eternal Spring so I had lived all my life in spring but I had never seen it coming.

First came the white flower on the pear trees I was this wonderful sign of life! All around I could see white flowers everywhere. I thought it was the most interesting thing because it almost seemed like snow again but it wasn’t,  I was so excited. Then the flowers were gone and green leaves were left behind, at the same time the yellow bushes started growing leaves so we had touches of green and yellow around, the red bushed followed. It seemed to me as if we had a painting with all the empty sticks and everyday we added a new color.

I started to feel a  desire to get out of bed every morning and see what was next. Then for the first time I was introduced to Tulips.  It was amazing seemed like from on day to the next Tulips were out. Then and now as I reminisce I hear music in the air it was like they were playing this grand overture for this opera of color. I actually stopped at a curb and got out to see if they were really coming from out of the ground. I was in complete awe by this spectacle.

The weather was now warmer so we started going to the playground. The trees were showing little green dots were leaves were going to come out. The girls were laughing going down the slides and the leaves seemed to be peeping out to see them play. Everyday we came and ran and played seemed like the listening of the children’s voices and happiness made leaves want to come out more. Then birds joined us  and so did other animals and more sounds and smell came into play. Miracles were happening every day in front of our eyes.  Going out was a banquet for the senses, we could see, hear, touch, smell and taste life!  The job was done, the most wonderful landscape was created: It had big trees full of leaves, flowers on the ground,  a deer on the range  a raccoon crossing the road, men riding their mowers, children playing, women out visiting and shopping, even fireworks in the sky.


And that is how winter and spring made me live and understand the full meaning of the word HOPE.

As I write this is, fall is in the air and is telling me winter is on the way, but now I now spring WILL come and I am so hopeful I just finished planting my own Tulip bulbs in my yard.


Nancy said...

Me cuesta mucho leer inglés... la verdad me da un poco de pereza... pero la experiencia de la primavera, de una verdadera primavera, debe ser única.

Nancy said...

Perdón, espero que no haya problema si comento en español

Guatemalan Genes said...

Los comentario son bienvenidos en el idioma de la predileccion del lector!!

Gracias por venir a mi blog, me he disfrutado tus historias de miedo, tus dibujitos y la dulzura de tu voz literaria.

Happy writtings!!