Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties Exits Denial

I have been living in Denial, Minnesota, for a little over two months now. Denial is a wonderful place, truly. The housing prices are much better than in California. The schools are fantastic. Family is close by (or just a phone call away). And the weather? It's just plain beautiful.

Reality has the strangest way of hitting a woman in her thirties. It's never a slow or gradual thing. It's more like a freight train to the face. My reality check came yesterday morning, when I woke up to this outside my window:

For my warm-weather friends, that is SNOW. ON THE GROUND. IN EARLY OCTOBER.

The look on L's face did most of the talking. It said something like, 'But the schools! And we could never afford this place in California! And have I mentioned today how much I love you?'

When I announced that we were moving to the Midwest, I can't tell you how many people asked if I was prepared for the snow. It was like when I announced I was moving to China and people asked if I realized I would have to learn Chinese. 'YES,' I said, often unable to mask my annoyance at being taken for an idiot. 'I GET THAT.' And yet, while I've known that snow is going to be a part of my life for some time now, it was the actual seeing it that caused my heart to skip a beat.

Could it be, I thought, that a woman in her thirties is never truly ready for anything?

As I reflected upon my week, all the signs were there. People were wearing scarves. Boots were being purchased. Car washes were looking desolate. And my Senior boys, the ones who laugh heartily at the idea of their California-girl teacher's first Minnesota winter, had taken it upon themselves to show me the weather report for the weekend.

'No!' I remember saying to them. 'Put it away! I'm not looking! I don't want to know!'

The snow from yesterday has melted, but there's no more denying that it's upon us. Upon me. No more turning my head; no more distractions. It is time, as many of my new friends here have suggested, to embrace the coming winter. With any luck, when the shock of my new climate wears off, the decision to move here will remain a good one.

A woman in her thirties bundles up and... um... yeah... just give me a minute... okay, fine... embraces.


  1. Oh my... yes I remember a similar reaction to my first winter in Seattle. As a native Californian, I was more than a smidgen taken aback. And did I mention totally unprepared for "black snow"?

    A near miss with the car parked at the end of the cul de saq and I got the point real quick. The good news is that I learned a woman in her thirties definitely learns her lesson! LOL.

    I sure wish I was a fly in your classroom... would love to see the teasing. He, he. Loved your photo, btw!

  2. You learned to speak Chinese. I would venture to say by this time next year you'll be able to build a pretty mean snow man and your scarf collection is going to rival that of any native mid-westerner! :)