Weekend Musings, Vol. 1: A Walk Down Snowy Memory Lane

The snow storm also had me say repeatedly that we had snow days every year in Istanbul. This always leads to a disbelief in whoever I tell. Yes, Istanbul is not a city with eternal warmth. Not that I knew that when I signed my work contract in July 2010 and then moved there. I also expected a pleasant Mediterranean climate, whereas the city surprised me with a diverse Black Sea climate. Hot summers and cold winters. Sometimes days with never-ending rain. One of my first purchases that first fall was a pair of rubber boots when I didn’t have a single dry shoe left. The water was racing down the many hills and accumulated everywhere. Neither did I have any dry clothes left, which soon led to a terrible cold and me having to stay sick at home. On an air bed … Anyway, eventually the rain subsided and I experienced my first winter in Istanbul.

Depending on the direction of the wind, we also had warm winter days that actually fulfilled my original dream picture of living in Istanbul. Like sitting outside in the sun, maybe even close to some palm trees. But eventually the Black Sea winds would catch up with us and bring cold air from the North. With it came bigger amounts of snow every year. At first we’d be freezing at work. The school I worked at was in one of the most beautiful historic buildings that any school could ever to be in – and as it is was landmarked, the walls had zero insulation. I always had a warm blanket on my shelf and would wrap myself up to stay warm. I am sure it was a fun picture to see the teacher in front of the class in a winter coat and a blanket while the students also wear their full winter gear.

While I wasn’t (and still am not) a fan of the cold, I always loved snow days. Once a heavier snow fall was expected, the governor usually closed all schools. We would get a call either the night before or the morning that we could stay at home. In a giant city like Istanbul that made sense as there are so many steep hills, many still with cobblestone. It made it quite dangerous for all the small dolmuş, the shared taxis, to drive around. And most students and teachers took this kind of transportation to get to school.

I still have fond memories of those snow days in Istanbul. They were quiet days that I mostly spent at home. Snuggling with Canavar. Getting a bit of housework done. In the afternoon I would take a walk outside and take photos. Over the years I might have started to romanticize those cold, snowy days where almost every street was slippery. Now that it looks like Covid-19 has put an end to traditional snow days here in New York because we all have internet and devices at home, I remember them even more. Tomorrow we are expecting the next snow storm and I suspect that Rich will have to listen to more of my winters in Istanbul memories.

Things I love this week

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© janavar

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