Thursday, February 2, 2012

Let it Snow!

Normally the words snow and Barcelona don't mix.  Or at least I don't like it when they do.  But at the same time, it's a "pleasant" reminder of home and I guess the weather can't be 60 and sunny all winter long right?  I think that might be asking a little too much of Mother Nature.

And it has been a super mild winter, especially in comparison to the year we moved here.  When we arrived in January 2010, it was rainy and raw with temps usually in the lower 40s.  Yes, significantly better than winter in Boston, but not by a whole lot.  The only thing really missing was the snow.  And we got that in March 2010 to the tune of 2" and a complete and total shutdown of the ENTIRE city.  It was a mess and if you were a reader back then you'll remember my 5 hour trek home from the kids school.  As a refresher, here is the entry:

Anyways, we've been really lucky the last 2 winters - I think Aidan wore his winter coat twice in 2011 it was just that mild.  And Liam only wore his because his teacher kept trying to tell me that he was cold.  No way, this kid has hearty New England blood going thru his veins!  Temps in the 50s in the winter is like a spring or fall day in New England.  This winter has been even nicer.  With the exception of a month of rain between October and November, the temps have been around 60 most days, dipping down perhaps to the early 50s occassionally.  I still find it amusing when I see people bundled up in the winter gear to brave the outdoors here!  And I will admit to when the temps fell to around 50 last week that I was tempted (but didn't) to get my gloves out.  Maybe my blood has thinned just a tiny bit....

This week has been mighty chilly by Barcelona standards and as many of you have probably seen on my Facebook, I feel like we've had a bit of a role reversal with Boston.  With temps in the 50s at home, we've been hovering around the 40 degree mark with a bit of rain thrown in.  And the ultimate insult was the possibility of snow today.  Ugh! 

While at the gym this morning Ignaci said it was snowing out and all I could think was "fuck not again".  And so today, sadly, I'm better prepared than I was 2 years ago.  Better prepared as if it were a blizzard at home and not a flurry here.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever spent so much time prepping to get the kids from school at home when it would snow.  Snow is second nature to us New Englanders.  Not so in Barcelona where it is a once in 25 year phenomenon.  But wait, it's only been 2 years!!!!!!!  It wasn't supposed to snow again in the time I live here. 

Regardless, the kids went to school this morning for the second time this year (the first being yesterday) in their winter jackets, much to their chagrin.  And I packed a hat and gloves in their bags in preparation for what I expected to be an early release today and not wanting to go thru what we went thru 2 years ago, I've learned from experience.  No joke, I also have their winter boots ready to go.  But no accumulation you say, so why the boots??  Because the last time it started as a rain/snow mix and then became what felt like a full blown blizzard (that only lasted til there was 2" of snow on the ground, but it was intense snow for those 2 hours).  Our feet were frozen as were our hands and we spent 5 hours trying to get home.  So I'm older and are packed.

At 10:40 AM an email went out to parents letting them know that due to inclement weather (it's no longer raining or flurries here but then I'm at a lower elevation than the school) it is up to the parents if they want to collect their children early and that the school will continue to keep everyone up to date.  Seriously?  There is nothing on the ground!   I continue to check with my friends up "north" by the school to see what's going on there since I know there can be significant enough differences in the weather between the two locations.  I don't think that we would get an email like that at home unless it were a blizzard.  Never has school gotten out early because of the threat of impending snow.  And so I sit here and wait...and skip Spanish class (a major burden for me, I know) in order to be ready to go at a moment's notice.  And I write to you... and I laugh because this feels like a joke that I'm preparing for what is really a non-existent snow storm. 

What it really comes down to is just that, preparation.  And as a friend of mine just mentioned, it's all about prevention and preparation.  At home, there would have been sanders and salters out all morning to ensure the roads don't freeze up.  I don't even think those kind of trucks exist here.  But regardless at 11:30 came the call from Aidan's teacher asking me to help call the parents because the school was closing at 2PM with buses leaving at 1:30PM.  I looked outside...nothing.

As I headed to pick up the kids, I couldn't help but laugh at the insanity of life in a place where snow is just not the norm and the reaction to it.  The reaction is one of panic, pure and simple.

As I walk thru Gracia I don't see a single snowflake and in fact, the streets are starting to dry.

During my walk, a second email came thru on my phone, this one with even more sense of urgency.  I'll copy it here for your enjoyment:
Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

The Ajuntamiento of Barcelona is strongly recommending that all schools in northern Barcelona (la zona alta) send their students home early today, as they expect heavy snowfall to begin by 4pm this afternoon.  Classes at BFIS will therefore end at 2pm today.  Please feel free to pick up your child(ren), at your convenience, between now and 2pm, making sure you sign them out with either Caroline Rockett, ES assistant, or Martha Correa, MS/HS assistant if you arrive prior to 2pm.  All children remaining at school after 2pm will wait for their parents in the MS/HS Library Commons.

It's really hard for me not to laugh about this (mainly because it took me a 10 minute cab ride to get back home and not a 5 hour ordeal).  My hope is that in 2 hours, at 4PM (as noted above when the snow will start again), a massive blizzard hits the city because otherwise tomorrow, everyone is going to be feeling pretty silly. 

The boys school from a distance..notice no snow up here on the "mountain" either.

And please note the DRY sidewalks...don't see any snow!

It's now 2PM and the kids are home safe should any of you at home be concerned ;)  So should we suddenly get hit with a blizzard I will gladly recant my statements above but until then, all I have to say is... Ahhhh Barcelona!!!!


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