So this is winter…

I’ve lived in Arizona for quite some time (close to 14 years), and so winter is sort of a novel concept for me.  Sure, I lived in Iowa when I was a kid, we visited my grandparents in Minnesota for the winter holidays (hi Grannie!), and we went sledding and played in the snow, but I haven’t lived through a full winter since I was a kid.  And as I’m learning, Moldova definitely has a winter.

This morning I had a meeting in the capital, so I boarded an early bus into the city.  The bus drops me off near the central outdoor market (this is THE market to shop at in Moldova, and it’s sort of like a large-scale farmers’ market…and the market spills over onto the surrounding streets, which are lined with boxes and tables of food and clothing and other knick-knacks).  Problem is, the central market is not that close to where I was supposed to be for our meeting.  But it was a sunny 20-something-degree day outside, and I thought a nice walk through the city would be refreshing.

But as I started walking, I started to notice that the feeling in my toes was dwindling.  I mean, I’d been on a bus for about an hour, and my feet were already a bit cold from that, so I’m sure the concrete sidewalks didn’t help.  And as I tried to wiggle my numb toes in my boots, all I could do was laugh inside and think to myself, “So this is winter…”

Despite my cold toes, I made it to the meeting in plenty of time and enjoyed my morning stroll through the city.

So here in Moldova, I’m learning new languages, new cultural traditions, development practices, and what it’s like to have a winter.  And I’m still waiting for our first real snowfall, but meanwhile I’m enjoying all the Christmas decorations that are starting to peak out in grocery stores and on the streets of the capital.

And, in honor of the title of this post…(sorry, no original John Lennon versions to be found on YouTube, but at least this one has pretty pictures).

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

The first snow!


This morning I woke up, slid out of my warm bed, and journeyed outside and around the house to the kitchen, where I cooked oatmeal over the stove, boiled some water for tea, and sliced a banana to eat with my breakfast.

When I left the kitchen, it was snowing outside!  The first snow.

Snow is a big deal when you’ve lived in a climate like Phoenix with mild winters.  I took my down winter jacket off the hanger and enjoyed my walk to work with flakes falling around me.