Full disclosure: I have seen snow.
As a native Montanan, I have marveled at snow as often as I have cursed it. I’ve shoveled the stuff until I ached, and I have giggled inside the fragile caves and imaginary forts it formed during my childish play. Snow is cool, but it’s also an icy nemesis when you want to drive to work, run through the sprinklers, or simply walk out your front door without having to bury yourself in bulky sweaters, cumbersome mittens, and seriously unsexy boots. I know snow and snow knows me.
What I really intend to celebrate through this blog is curiosity and adventure. Whether the focus is a solo trip through Ethiopia, a first-ever encounter with freezing rain, or quitting a job and leaning into the unknown, Never Seen Snow will document my journeys and explorations and those of others I meet along the way.
I like to wander and I love a good story.
explanation of the title, “Never Seen Snow” (part 1):
This blog’s title is literally inspired by the arrival of a handful of young people who are (this week!) moving to North America from Africa to begin their university experience. I taught these ambitious scholars in Ghana during their 11th grade year of high school.
They are daring adventurers who have made some remarkable sacrifices in pursuit of education. While they attended secondary school in West Africa, they are natives of such countries as Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
And to the best of my knowledge, not one of them has ever seen snow.
These students are college freshmen, and they have amazing life stories already, but this move will present them with a new set of challenges and successes.
I will invite some of these individuals to share their observations and opinions here at Never Seen Snow throughout the semester.
- How will it feel to experience a first American winter in the heart of Michigan?
- What will they think of the US Presidential election?
- Who will explain pep rallies and will cheerleaders make any sense?
- What does Vancouver have in common with Bujumbura?
· An explanation of the title, “Never Seen Snow” (part 2):
I just quit my job. Yes, in this economy and without a parachute I just leapt out of the security of a tenured teaching position and into the void - no lesson plans, no guaranteed paycheck, and no clue as to what my future holds.
After thirteen years of full-time teaching at public and private schools from the Silicon Valley to West Africa, I resigned to find new inspiration and to take some risks. My last paycheck was deposited on August 18th and my group health care plan turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight last night.
My father is worried. My friends are excited. My bank account is nervous.
Here I go…