I just finished Face-timing with Erika, my roommate from college. She is pretty literally trapped in her apartment due to the heavy snowstorm that is currently hitting the east coast of the US. (I've heard they're calling it Jonas or something?) It makes me laugh a little because 3 times this winter I've already been warned of the "snowstorm" coming to Jerusalem. In fact, this weekend we were supposed to have one. (Update: Said storm has been postponed until midweek. Hooray!)
This is my 3rd winter here (wow!) and I just have to say: Winter doesn't work here. It doesn't work because it hardly happens and it doesn't work because when it does happen everyone totally loses it.
I live Jerusalem and it is known for being "so cold". I'll admit—Jerusalem is pretty cold—but it is not THAT cold. The minute the temperature drops the heaters go on full blast. I literally am sweating in my office. If they even think it is going to snow they get ready to shut the city down. Day after day I'll wear my most water/weather-proof boots in preparation for something to happen and the day I finally give up and wear converse it will pour rain. Just my luck! The drivers here are already crazy, and rain or any sort of weather here just exacerbates it. When I first moved here I used to get splashed walking on the sidewalk by the cars driving too fast on the street.
Winter here is short and things are just not built for it, literally. Next to no one here has a dryer so you have to find a way to hang your laundry indoors so it doesn't freeze. When I was on Masa my room literally flooded. I woke up to water spitting in my face and 2 inches of water surrounding the front end of my bed.
Although we rarely get snow, we do get these awesome things called dust storms. We get them in the summer and they make it hard to breathe and make the unbearable heat even more unbearable. And we also get them in the winter apparently and they are the worst. Somehow they seem to always coincide with rain and then the dust sticks in the air and to everything else because it is wet! It's really not the ideal sequence of events.
That's not to say everything sucks here in the winter. We do have delicious hot-drinks like Sachlav, dried Sahlab orchid mixed with steamed milk and a mixture of orange blossom water, vanilla, cinnamon and sometimes nuts. There is also choco-ham (hot chocolate) unlike anything in the US. They put real, rich chocolate at the bottom of the cup and fill it with frothy steamed milk. You mix it all up yourself and it is almost like a food, more than a drink. A lot of my most beautiful scarves were purchased in Israel but are rarely worn here, so I guess it is nice to have the opportunity for that.
One way or another I will survive (and so will all the Israelis) and in 3 months we will go back to complaining about the heat.