Jonas the Snowzilla

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2016

I am hurrying to catch the metro, short of breath. Behind me I am pulling my 85 litre travel bag stuffed with warm clothes and study materials for the next few days, or weeks. Snow storm “Jonas” is coming, you see, and there is no knowing how big he will be or what mood he will be in when he finally decides to drop by. It could last for days. Nobody knows. Coming from Australia, I am unaccustomed to copious amounts of white, fluffy snow interrupting my study routine and by extension conveniently granting me, and most folk in the north eastern states of the USA, a three or four day weekend. Pity about all those missed classes…

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Washingtonians are getting ready. Employers have rented hotel rooms for their staff so they can work longer hours (apparently some places refuse to shut off, even in the face of a storm). The George Washington University has been closed early. Everywhere I go I see students, staff, citizens frantically scurrying like ants before a thunderstorm that threatens to wash them away. Many stock up on necessary supplies, bottled water, toilet paper, and Jif, extraordinarily crunchy non-oily peanut butter, to spread on Grandma’s famous family pancakes. Everyone is determined to survive ‘Snowzilla’.

Unlike most of my college friends, I had been invited to see Jonas out off campus, with my friends the Thomas family in Northern Virginia. The three days I spent there just flew. Whether it be sitting down to a breakfast feast of buttermilk pancakes served with bacon, blueberries and dripping in ounces of maple syrup or Maine blueberry sauce -all washed down with a cup of real American coffee; jonas11appealing to Jonas’s softer side with Americana tunes such as “My Way” by Sinatra on the Steinway; spontaneous snow fights in 30 inches of snow before an enchanting mid-afternoon sun; or learning to use a snow blower with Jonas at my heels: it was a terrific experience I won’t forget. The Thomas’ epitomize the ultimate hospitable American family. The warmth and generosity I experienced made me feel like I was back home. Let me tell you, they have three very lucky Shi-Tzu dogs.jonas10

 

 

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The positive thing about otherwise reckless snow storms, like Jonas, is they give people the opportunity to slow down. We live in a very fast paced life, and every now and again it’s important to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Although I didn’t take part, a lot of my friends back on George Washington City Campus participated in a snow man making competition in Kogan Plaza. I can visualize exchange and residential students alike frolicking carelessly amidst the powdery white, like children in an enormous sand pit. For some, no doubt, it would have been their first time experiencing snow. According to social media, such outbursts of public interaction were to be seen everywhere Jonas traversed. Meanwhile, back in Virginia, one of the Thomas’, Jenny, and I stayed up until long after the witching hour to complete a 1000 piece puzzle of an American newsstand. So although a lot of homeless people were inconvenienced by his wrath, Jonas’ legacy is that he gave many the opportunity to catch up on some rose-smelling.

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Thanks Jonas.

PS: Perhaps you’d consider making a little reappearance in early May? Right around the time of my finals would suit me just fine…

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