This is the second part of my summary of my first year living in the USA. If you missed the first part you can read it here. Snowmageddon
At the end of December I remarked to my wife that I was saddened by the lack of wintry weather at Christmas and surprised at the paucity of snow so far this winter. Not only did I end up having to eat my words, I ended up having to shovel them off the sidewalk too. The first big snowfall that we had was over two feet and for the three weeks after that we were hit by big storms every single week. I’d been planning to join a gym but I soon discovered that shoveling the sidewalk and freeing the car every couple of days was all the exercise I needed. The street turned into a branch of bloody Ikea as our neighbours used everything from chairs to mattresses to reserve their hard earned parking spots.
By the end of winter over 108 inches of snow had fallen, making my first New England winter the snowiest winter in Boston’s history. As I said in my last post, my timing is usually great. Snow used to make me feel excited but now every time I think of it I remember falling into a snowbank on my way home from the train station and how frustrating it was to have to shovel my way out of the house in the mornings. There was an upside to the awful winter though; it was so bad that everybody was moaning about it so I didn’t stand out as a whiny Brit who couldn’t handle the New England weather. Much.
I’m used to March being the month of spring and new growth but here that all happens rather a bit later and the only thing growing were the piles of snow outside the house. It took until mid-March for them to start to disappear, leaving such amusing debris as peoples Christmas trees and trash from January to enliven the walk to the station. Winter had consisted mostly of shoveling and watching the snow from the windows so it was a relief when it started warming up and I only needed 64 layers of clothing for the morning commute instead of the previous 65.
I found the winter pretty depressing; not being able to get out of the house much was frustrating and even when it wasn’t cold enough to make a snowman’s balls drop off I didn’t have anywhere to go anyway. My wife took me away for my 30th Birthday weekend (yes I do feel bloody old) which was cool but the rest of March was pretty much a write off. By my wife’s Birthday in mid-April it was considerably warmer and we spent a great weekend on Cape Cod and even managed to get some sunburn to match the lobsters that Cape residents love so much.
I returned to England for two weeks in May to see friends and family and remarkably the Americans let me return to the US after. May was a pretty decent month; I was starting to make friends at work and feel slightly less out of place in the US. Slightly. My wife and I went on my favourite New England activity (no not witch burning, whale watching) and we saw a number of humpback whales close to the boat. I learnt that the Boston area is great in spring, with areas like the Esplanade and Mount Auburn to discover.
I saw Morrissey live in Worcester, MA. Need I say anymore to express that June was awesome? I may have got a bit emotional at this but lets gloss that bit over. I also had a British coworker join my office so I’m now able to say things like “I’m going to pop to the loo” to someone without having to use Google Translate and have discussions on the merits of Earl Grey versus English Breakfast too. The kind of conversations that keep civilisation going in the right direction.
It’s been a strange first year in America. I’ve discovered a previously unknown antipathy for snow, I’ve been asked if I’m French, Australian or Texan and if I’ve ever been to Buckingham Palace for tea. I’ve been told 2000 bloody times that Downton Abbey is great and that Doctor Who is the best thing ever just because I’m British. I’ve defended the honour of driving on the left and using Celsius and I’m finally starting to understand American weights and measurements. Some of them, anyway. I’ve turned from a shy awkward Englishman who didn’t know how to catch a bus to a cultural ambassador for England who can defend the honour of the letter “u” wherever it may be found. I now know how to catch a bus too!
It’s hard moving to a new country and having no friends and family but I feel like I’m starting to get used to it here and starting to like it. Without the help of Kat (my wife) I probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a week here. I’d have starved to death trying to work out how to cook things in Fahrenheit. I’ve also been lucky to have met some awesome people who have explained simple things to me like how much a dime is worth and how to cross the road without being run over. Special mentions go to Christi, Aaron, Julie, Isaac, Bea, Lora, Teea, Laura, Krista, Holly and Charlotte for being great and welcoming and not treating me like a complete idiot as I get used to life here. My friends and family in England have been awesome too. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and following my blog, here’s to the next year!