Disclaimer: Due to bad weather and the author’s subsequent grumpiness, this post is not recommended for meteorologists, Scottish nationalists, or those with oversensitivity to sarcasm.
Raised in the humid embrace of Florida’s sub-tropical climate, snow is not something to which I’m accustomed. When it snows in Florida, it’s the headline story on the 6pm news. Life stops, we run outside to catch a glimpse of rogue flakes, and become generally convinced that hell has frozen over and the trumpets of the apocalypse are to sound imminently. Then the snow melts the minute it touches the ground and we go back to whatever it was that we were doing.
In Scotland, it’s a different story. They have real snow. The kind that comes down in actual snowflake shapes and sticks around for a while. My first winter here as a student I thought snow was awesome. It was novel and kind of like living in a big snow globe. My two Canadian friends took me by the hand (literally, since I’d not yet learned to walk on frozen ground) and led me like a toddler to play in the Meadows. The big expanse of green in the middle of city had been transformed into a white winter wonderland.
It wasn’t deep enough to make a full snowman, but I succeeded in building my first snow baby. We named her Sweet Pea and she had a short happy life. If you think building a snow baby is fun, it’s even more fun to pick it up and attempt dropkicking it.
The fun ended there, though. Snow doesn’t stay nice and pretty, or even white. It becomes mushy and brown and makes getting anywhere a pain in the backside (literally, since I’ve still not learned to walk on frozen ground).
Snow and I have broken up and we are never ever getting back together.
What you also aren’t told about Scotland is that you can expect snow at just about anytime of the year. I’m convinced that the fact this isn’t listed on a big sign at every airport and train station, or at the very least included in your visa application guidance notes, is tantamount to criminal negligence.
It should say something like this:
Scotland experiences frequent meteorological conditions that can contribute to soaked clothes, frozen extremities, tangled hair, slipping, and general bouts of rage followed by depression. These conditions are commonly referred to by their scientific names: winter snow, spring snow, summer snow, and fall snow. Such occurrences also tend to be coupled with the associated conditions of gale force winds, hail, rain, and runaway trampolines. Scotland also maintains a charming historical presence and has a proliferation of cobbled streets and loose sidewalk stones. High heels, sandals, and anything resembling footwear of the cute description are not advisable. If you do decide to take up temporary or permanent residence in Scotland, you do so fully warned and prepared for inclement weather.
Yeah, that should do it.
Image credit: Robert Nunnally