Sunday, December 21, 2008 ;
9:51 PM
First snow here

This is the first snow for this winter. How different from Utah. I guess in SLC, the altitude is higher? First snows had been Sept both years Dh and us were there.

It rarely snows here, being nearer the coast and at sea level. We're glad to have some snow. It makes winter more fun than just bleak.

So nice to have it fall on the day of 冬至 (winter solstice) too.
By the way, if most of you are having tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) today cos it's the winter solstice, the northern chinese don't do that. They eat 饺子 (dumplings).

Interestingly, it was a taxi driver who gave me all the info, and interesting nuggets. I took one to school the other day and he asked me if I knew about the 24 节气。I said I didn't know, then he proceeded to tell me.

There are 4 seasons, each season with 6 jieqi, so that makes 24 a year. Ancestors came up with this more than 1000 years ago, with scientific background. The jieqi change with every 15 degrees in a revolution. So after 360 degrees, you have all the 24 jieqi. Ok I didn't understand everything he said so I googled it and got this page. You can read for more details. You can get it translated into English too, but the English sometimes read funny.

http://www.weather.com.cn/static/html/article/20081219/20484.shtml

Anyway, it is all very interesting and intriguing, cos I had only heard of a few of them before, like 冬至,清明。 Makes a lot of sense too.

Actually, I learn a lot from the cab drivers. Each time I take one, they are very friendly and willing to share a lot of information. I am surprised how much they know about all the families living in my estate too. One of them told me almost everything I knew about the Japanese mom whose hubby is Italian (ds1's classmate's family). Now I mostly listen to them and ask Qs about what they say, and share very little info about my own family, because I think they might just be talking about me to others too!

They told me people here eat dumplings on the day of winter solstice because dumplings resemble our ears and since this period is the coldest period in the whole of winter, it'll prevent the ears from freezing. Interesting, right?

Below shows the blanket of snow along the sidewalks and roads.


And in our porch. The winds were strong. Dh said it was a snowstorm.

Over here, when there is a snowstorm, most businesses are handicapped. Why? We are not sure if this is a small thing to them so there are no snow plows, but yes, we didn't see any. And throughout the day, we had to go in and out and Dh attended a quartet rehearsal in the afternoon. There were no cabs.

Cars cannot go normally. There is snow and ice on the roads. Cyclists cannot cycle. I actually called for pizza delivery and I forgot they deliver on their bicycles. I was informed that they don't deliver today cos the snow and winds are too strong!

Ok... In Utah, I could still order pizza because the roads will have been shovelled through by the ever-ready snow plow workers. And they deliver by cars.

So no cabs for Dh too. His friend gave him a lift in the end. And cars don't change to snow tires here too. They will just drive on the ice and ice-skate in the vehicles. I have resolved not to go out on snowy days here, just in case I am walking on the sidewalk and get knocked down by a car who skids towards me.

It was so cold that our Sunday worship visitors came frozen up. We started service late this morning because they all came late, and had to warm up their frozen faces and fingers. I had to serve them hot water too. Poor people. But we were glad they still made it all the way here, despite the weather. They took the bus and walked too!

The kids enjoyed themselves though. They kept asking to go out to play. In the morning, right after waking up they were screaming to get out but they had to have breakfast first. Right after breakfast they went out for snow fights, and making snow angels.

Then we got them in for worship, and after worship, they were at it again. We made them have a quick lunch and out they went.

That's when we took the 2 family pics below.

As we talked, there was a lot of vapour so we decided to take a pic with us huffing all the vapour out of our mouths and throwing snow at the same time. Resulted in the pic below. hee.


It was so cold for us, we wanted to be out minimally. But the kids really would have lived outside if we let them. Their faces were red with the cold, and they refused to wear scarves of course. They weren't even wearing snow pants cos all our ski and snow stuff are in the boxes, which have yet to arrive. Sure hope they don't fall sick.

I had to drag both in, they were so reluctant to come back into the house. Even in the evening, ds1 was still asking if he could go out one last time, but it was absolutely too cold then, without any sunlight.

Below's a video clip of them playing together. Look at their snow-covered beanies! And notice how the howling wind was still fiercely blowing away. All of us felt the wind here is stronger than in Utah (cos of the coast?).

Some other clips show them really brutal with each other, throwing clumps of snow at each other's faces, causing the "victim" to splutter and cough snow out. This one is tamer.

(If you're wondering about the music in the background, it's cos this happened just before worship and Dh was playing some hymns very loudly on the computer.)



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