I grew up on the east coast of the U.S. so I know about snow. We used to build snow forts in our front yard, and sled down the hills at our middle school. But the snow always seemed like a mirage; it would fall quickly and then melt just as fast, leaving us with brown sludge.
But in Stockholm, the snow falls and falls. And the sun comes out for 15 minutes. And the snow comes again. Sometimes horizontally. It hurts my face a little.
The snow has been falling for three days and the forecast says it will continue for the next two. Last weekend saw just as much snow. But Swedes are resilient and don’t let a snow storm stop them from taking their dog for a walk, running errands or just getting fresh air. And this much snow gives Swedes an excuse to break out their favorite walking accessory: ski poles. I wish I haven’t seen seemingly intelligent Swedes walking down a popular shopping street or through a snow-covered park looking like ski mimes. Apparently someone told them it enhances metabolism, but left out the part that it makes them look nuts. Swedes: Consider this a public service announcement.
As only a semi Swedish speaker, it seems to me that Swedes just take the weather as it is. But I am assured that the media is covering this winter’s unusual intensity with just as much fervor as the American media covering the east coast’s massive blizzards. Trains are interrupted, buses are stuck and cars are running off the roads. Rooftops are also caving in, including the roof on one of the biggest tennis halls in Stockholm. Pedestrians fare the best, but the thick layer of ice under the snow makes walking feel like ice skating in boots.
It’s hard to even say how much snow we get because the snow has not melted since early December. In January, the temperature in Stockholm didn’t rise above freezing, the first time that has happened since 1829. And predictions are that the snow will not abate for the next month.
I suppose that instead of dreaming about Sweden’s two months of heat (can 25/75 degrees be considered “heat”?), all you can do is stay inside, watch the athletes brave the cold in Vancouver and watch the snow pile up against the window.