This winter seems to be colder than usual here in DC. It was 11F this morning when I woke up, feeling like 3F. Ice and snow glistened on the ground. Given that many places are much colder than this, and that my hometown Changchun, a city in the northeast part of China similar to where Boston is to US, is at its normal winter temperature of -12F, I really shouldn’t be complaining.
When I was a kid, the city didn’t have any snow blowers or shovel trucks. When we got a heavy snow, the streets simply disappeared. People would go out with a shovel in their hands to clear the snow from sidewalks and streets. It might sound dangerous but there were hardly any private cars back then, only buses and bicycles that moved at very low speed. If it was during winter break, students would be called back to school to help shoveling snow from the huge playground – an excitement after spending many boring days at home.
One fun place to go was the South Lake park in Changchun. The 227-acre lake was frozen solid in the winter and safe to walk on. When it was covered with heavy snow, groups of people, adults and children alike, would make snowmen on the lake, and often ended up in snowball fights with friends and strangers. We would laugh and scream and run and fall and sweat in the all-white world. The last time I did this was in 1992 – can’t believe it was 20+ years ago!
Anyway, it is time to wrap up the memories of good old times and think about what I should have for lunch.