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first snow

I wasn’t scared one bit. Oh, ok — you got me. I am not being entirely truthful. I just told you a small white lie. Truth be told, I was a tad nervous, but I can’t help it: I was born nervous. My mother might have attributed it to bad genes or the fact that I never knew my father, but I never got the chance to ask her. She was run over by a car when I was barely a week old. Foster care. Adoption. My siblings were scattered to the four winds.

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Growing up in Nairobi, I remember the wind as a delicate caress that brought with it the sweet smell of freshly cut grass and hibiscus flowers. On lazy weekend mornings, I would lie in the backyard, my nose twitching with excitement at the palette of aromas at my disposal. Those carefree days are now far behind me, their memory blurred by the passing of time. The wind in Chisinau is different than the winds of my childhood. It is cruel and biting. It howls and whistles in the eaves of our home. Sometimes in the evenings it blows so hard that I stagger when we walk outside. I always stop and try to sniff out the news it brings, hoping to catch a familiar whiff of my faraway homeland, but it’s never there.

There was hardly any wind tonight, which I might have welcomed as a pleasant change if only I had not grown accustomed to distrusting change. I grew even more suspicious when I saw the jacket and footwear. Any time I have to don them, I know that I can expect no good to come from it. Even so, after spending several hours waiting patiently, all alone in the dark house, I quickly forgot my apprehension in the excitement of being let outside.

I bounded eagerly down the stairs, my rubber-soled bootees clacking on the marble staircase. Yet, when the door opened I was unsure whether I should proceed. A downy, white carpet had been spread out on the ground, covering everything in sight. I gingerly took a step, and then another. My bootees didn’t make a sound, but the ground no longer seemed to support me and I sunk into the unfamiliar substance.

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It was a bewitching sensation. The white stuff was cold and wet. I tried to shrug it off but no matter how many times I shook my entire body from head to toe — and believe me, I tried it many times — the sensation lingered, a burning chill that started at the tip of my nose and penetrated me to the core. I tried to get to the bottom of the situation, but somehow burying my entire head in this unfamiliar stuff did not give me any more answers, just more tingling.

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This was serious business. My owner said as much himself. Or at least I think he did. He kept saying something about me doing my business, and eventually — once the novelty of it all wore off — I noticed tufts of grass poking through the whiteness. It was reassuring to see that the grass was still there and the more we walked back and forth the more I was able to relax.

We are back inside now. It’s a bit boring, but most of the time I think I prefer it this way.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. That first photo has me totally cracking up! I completely agree that dogs go through culture shock just as much as humans. When our ridgeback got to the States over the summer there were so many things to figure out and experience — tall grass, going in stores, the elevator, the dog park — no mangoes on the ground or sugarcane, no sand and garbage and broken side walks with smells of both human and animal urine, no sea breeze, doors that banged, carpet, green grass, planters, and many dog friendly people who encouraged his greetings. Then on to Turkey with high rise window views, packs of wild dogs, lavender galore, and a limited walking space and no yard. Your dog will be a pro in those booties by the end of the season and when the next year rolls around he will be so excited to see them come out.

    December 14, 2013
    • Packs of wild dogs and no yard? That must be rough on the ridgeback. Gorgeous dogs, but they definitely need space. We tried walking Emmie without the booties this morning now that most of the first snow has melted and that was a total disaster. She couldn’t stop shivering from the cold and started wheezing like an old smoker.

      December 14, 2013
      • Poor baby! The booties sound like the best buy ever — glad she is getting use to them! For settling the ridgeback need for a good romp – we sneak into basketball and tennis courts at the 5 am hour and our home is arranged so that there is nothing in the middle of the living room but a huge carpet. He and our Turkish adopted stray have turned that into their WWF mat when they just have energy to burn. It’s working, but a yard would be so much better. When they really need to be drained we can take them down and up the bazillionteen flights of stairs – works on the physical as well as the mental levels — for everyone.

        December 15, 2013
  2. Dad #

    Emmie looks totally adorable! She reminds me a little of our beloved Sam. Hopefully, Emmy will eventually love the snow the way Sam did. I will never forget how long it would take me to shovel our walk or the driveway when she was with me. She would bark until I threw some scoops of snow her way. Then she would leap in the air and bite the snow before it hit the ground. She’d dive into a big pile to “retrieve” a snowball I’d throw and shake the remnants from her head.
    When I see how much Emmy loves you, it makes me miss having Sam all the more, sniffffff!
    Love Pops
    PS we’re about to get a pretty good Nor’easter this weekend and my X-country skis should get their first workout.

    December 14, 2013
    • I’m not holding my breath on Emmie ever loving the snow as much as you describe Sam loving it. She’ll get used to it, for sure, but her fur is too thin for her to enjoy being out in the cold for long periods of time.

      No x-country for me, but I do have a skiing trip to Ukraine planned right after S flies back home. :)

      December 15, 2013

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