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#SnowOuttaMyElement: Stories Of First Experiences With Snow


Here at NPR in Washington, we're already seeing an impressive deluge of snow. They are calling this storm Snowzilla. Grocery shelves are empty, transit systems are shutting down. Some people from colder parts of the world might be rolling their eyes at us, but just imagine what it's like if this is the first time you've experienced snow.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: One, two, three.

SHAPIRO: That's a YouTube video of young boy from Syria tobogganing down a snowy hill. He's a refugee who just settled with his family in Canada.

MAANVI SINGH, BYLINE: They're so bundled up that they can barely move and they're sliding down this hill giggling all the way down. It's wonderful 'cause the expressions on their faces are just, like, pure joy.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Maanvi Singh first showed us this video and posted it on our Goats and Soda blog. She also wrote about the first time she saw snow. It was after her family moved from India to the U.S. and they visited Lake Tahoe in California.

SINGH: I think was 8 or 9 years old. I remember getting out of this, like, minivan and stepping out into snow, and I had no idea what it would feel like - whether it would feel like the shaved ice in a snow cone or if it would feel kind of heavy, or would it be super light? And I remember, like, touching it without gloves at first, and I was, like, oh, my gosh, this is way colder than I have ever imagined. And it's biting. It kind of hits your face and it hurts. My cousins, who are younger than me, wanted to build, like, a snowman or something, and at that point, I was like, no, I'm going back in the car and I'm never coming out. How do people live in this weather? Like, how is this even a thing?


SHAPIRO: We asked our followers on social media for their stories of first snow. Stephen Charles from Greensboro, N.C., sent us this memory.

STEPHEN CHARLES: My first encounter with snow was leaving St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and joining the military and having to report to Fort Dix, N.J. It was my first time going from 80s and 90s to that winter. It was 19 degrees. Not having the right clothes and having to learn how to march in formation on snow and ice.

SHAPIRO: Here's another memory from Sofia Jordan in Sterling, Va.

SOFIA JORDAN: This is my first real snow ever. I grew up in Louisiana and Texas. I got through Texas winters with hoodies and sweatshirts, and I didn't purchase a wool coat up until six months ago when I made the move from Austin, Texas, to Northern Virginia. So while everyone else is pretty bummed out about this weekend, I am really looking forward to it.


SHAPIRO: However you feel about the snow this weekend, we want to hear from from you. We're using the hashtag #SnowOutOfMyElement. Tweet to us. The show is at @npratc, and I am at @arishapiro.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.