The first winter

Today marks the beginning of my first winter in NYC. Perhaps more unbelievably, this is the last season that I will be experiencing for the first time in this city.

I moved to Brooklyn from Phoenix on March 26, the fifth day of spring. The timing was completely unintentional on my part. Thanks to last year’s so-called polar vortex, temperatures were in the 20s and there was snow on the ground until my late-April birthday, but according to the calendar, it was spring. I watched the trees bloom, darted through traffic with an umbrella. After spring I spent summer days reading in the park and sipping iced coffee in hipster cafes. And then fall – I watched the leaves change and heard them crunch beneath my feet, cherished days crisp enough for sweaters but dreaded what came next.

Winter.

I’m a summer girl. I spent the first nine years of my life in Cleveland and never embraced the midwest winters. While my siblings and the neighbor kids were outside hurling snowballs at each other, I was inside with a book counting down the days until spring. From there, I moved – not by design – to progressively warmer climates. Colorado Springs, where the winters are mild and the snow is beautiful. Dallas, where it snows perhaps once a year, the entire city shuts down and hibernating is encouraged. Phoenix, where the temperatures once dipped below 30 and it made national news.

New York City, where the lights are bright and the weather is brutal.

I knew, in a sense, what I was getting into. Last year, my job revolved around national and international news. I’d sort through photos of people schlepping to work in yet another northeast blizzard, think that sucks, then grab a light jacket and wander across the street for some ice cream. Those images didn’t deter me. I’d go home after work and write cover letter after cover letter, trying to convince someone to hire me so I could move to this crazy place with literally unbelievable winters.

Now that another winter is upon the region, I’m balking. I’m terrified. In the spring, when I was chilled to the bone, New Yorkers would say to me, You’re so lucky you missed the cold! I comforted myself with reminders that winter was practically an entire year away. I knew that by the time it arrived, I’d be so entrenched, so in love with my life and this city, that suffering through would be the only option. I was right.

So despite the fact that perhaps I’d rather spend this particular season in the desert, I’m sticking it out. I’m settling in with a stack of books and counting down the days until spring, until I can say I’ve survived all four seasons, until I can tell other newcomers to the city how lucky they are to have missed the worst of it. I’ll remember the blooms, the sunshine, the leaves. And I’ll remind myself that next winter is practically a year away.

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