Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Tag: snow

The Benefits of Being Snowed In

Snowed In

While getting some fresh air during a nice walk around the block is out of the question these days, being snowed in does have its benefits. Due to Michigan’s weather condition this winter, I have:

1. Finished a book I’ve been working on for years
2. Started a new project
3. Rested quite well
4. Found creative new ways to play with my kids
5. Organized the entire basement

Since this weather might resume for February, I might learn another half-dozen things. As I write this, I am reminded of my teacher Lynn Andrews, who wrote: “Once again we move into the season of winter, Mother Earth’s gift to us of hibernation, of dreaming and being within ourselves as we allow our dreams to germinate and gain clarity before we plant them in the coming spring.”

The White Guest

My husband in Amman, Jordan (with his niece and nephew)

Last weekend I was unable to get a hold of my husband. He was in Amman, Jordan, visiting his parents whom he had not seen for over 13 years. Finally when he answered his phone, he explained, “The electricity was out. The whole city was shut down because of the snow storm.” Or what his niece and nephew called “The White Guest!”

“What snowstorm?” I asked, clueless that the Middle East, accustomed to oppressive heat, experienced a snow storm that most locations had not seen in over 100 years.

The roads were blocked, residents were confined to their homes, and when King Abdullah II toured the capital to check on the progress of snow-removal efforts, he ended up pulling up his sleeves and helping other men push a car stuck in the snow.

After learning about the storm, my heart sank at the thought of the millions of displaced Syrians living in makeshift shelters, many of their children enduring the cold with as little as T-shirts and sandals for protection.

Building an Igloo for Our Penguin

The reason I crack up during the fight is because when my niece/goddaughter asked me to film her earlier, I told her the iPhone battery was dying. But I had to catch this “little” fight on camera! It was my only highlight, given I was too scared to sled down the hill. 

Saleem & Huggie

A few weeks ago, my cousin brought over her daughter’s and son’s clothes for my kids, who are younger than hers, to try on. In the bags was a cute stuffed penguin which my son fell in love with. He named him “Huggie” and since then, Huggie has been a part of our family. He goes almost everywhere with us. For example, yesterday he came along sledding.

At the park, the kids decided to build an igloo for “Huggie” to make him feel more at home. There are three traditional types of igloos.

•The smallest was constructed as a temporary shelter, usually only used for one or two nights. These were built and used during hunting trips, often on open sea ice.

•Intermediate-sized igloos were for semi-permanent, family dwelling. This was usually a single room dwelling that housed one or two families. Often there were several of these in a small area, which formed an Inuit village.

•The largest igloos were normally built in groups of two. One of the buildings was a temporary structure built for special occasions, the other built nearby for living. These might have had up to five rooms and housed up to 20 people. A large igloo might have been constructed from several smaller igloos attached by their tunnels, giving common access to the outside. These were used to hold community feasts and traditional dances.

I’m not sure if Huggie’s igloo falls into any one of those categories.

Huggie in his igloo