To whom it may concern,
Snowflakes. What. Who. When. How. Skdjfhalskdjhf.
Now you know the complex thoughts that rushed through my mind as I stood in a field, staring up for the very first time to experience snow. As perfect little crystals settled in my hair like something out of bloody Snow White I couldn’t help grinning like a maniac.
Let me give you a little back-story. I grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and later Auckland, New Zealand. While both places have many wonders of nature to offer: great beaches, intricately decorated temples, Dilmah tea and sheep to name a few – neither offered me a snowy experience.
When we first moved to New Zealand, my mother was adamant we have a full Kiwi upbringing. That first year was packed with experiences on a farm, learning to milk cows and attempting to ride horses but one particularly traumatic day was the visit to Snow Planet.
Snow Planet, for those of you who don’t know, is a place on a hill in Auckland, which is covered in artificial snow. Here is where my mother decided I would learn how to ski. Dressed in a silver, matching Adidas tracksuit, because why not? I was quickly separated from my little brother and cousin and thrown into the older group. I think they assumed older would mean more strength. They did not know me very well. The trouble with being in the older, supposedly stronger group, is that we weren’t allowed to use the chairlift. No, no, this group had to climb sideways up the mountain with skis on. Already we were off to a terrible start. My mother and aunt sat in the café at the bottom of this artificially snow-laden hill with hot chocolates, looking up once in a while to tell me to “get up”. My first experience with snow left much to be desired for.
Having told this experience to my friend Annabel, she was determined to change my relationship with this supposedly magical snow. Ever the optimist, I knew it could only get better from my first, frankly humiliating experience. The week of storm and snow warnings felt so long – it wasn’t until Friday, walking home from class that I stood, gobsmacked at falling snow. Annabel rings, “Can I take you to the snow tomorrow?” Why yes Annabel, you can.
With freshly made eggs on toast on my lap, and a snug outfit that resembled nothing of my Adidas tracksuit we set out to her parent’s cottage in Kowai. Oh, my giddy aunt. What a drive that was. Kowai is a magical place, an hour out of Christchurch city. By the time we reached Springfield, 5 minutes away from our destination, I was in an American Christmas movie. Approaching Springfield I noticed that every surfaced looked as though it had been sprinkled with icing sugar, and I love icing sugar. There were snowmen, and children playing in the snow, a snow clearing truck-thingy drove past us, and I was documenting every second of it like nobody’s business. We stopped at Springfield which, I kid you not, had a giant doughnut monument, for a doughnut. I was the happiest lass in all the land.
But the snowy adventure didn’t end there. No. We got back into the car and drove over snow-laden bridges that went over little rivers flanked by sugar-dusted pine trees. Down a long country road we stopped at Annabel’s cottage where her parents had already lit a fire, her aunt greeted us with the best hug, her Gran made bird puns left, right and center, her mum handed us a cuppa and her dad provided us with muesli bars aplenty and chucked on the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. The Woodward-Kean clan annihilated any chance of me not enjoying my real snowy experience. And we haven’t even gotten to the part about real-life snow cones and frittatas.
Fast-forward to standing in their neighbouring plot of land where the family grows native New Zealand trees, and it begins snowing. My sheer joy momentarily overshadowed the fact that perfect little snowflakes were falling everywhere. But one landed on my moss-green coat and I was spell-bound. SNOWFLAKES. WHAT. WHO.WHEN.HOW.SKDJFHALSKDJHF.