This morning, the Monday after a long weekend, I was awake and grouchy at 6:30 am. On the shuttle bus to work, I exchanged sleepy nods with the other teachers and buried my nose in a paperback. The sky had lightened to a denim blue by the time we reached the hilly neighbourhood of Buyukcekmece, just west of the city. I traced a lazy finger over the condensation on my window, when I saw long blurs of white on the ground below. There was snow in Istanbul. The first snow of the year.
My childlike reaction was a definite cliche, and can only be described as such. My heart leapt, my heart sang, visions of sugarplums danced in my head. Snow! Beautiful white snow, capping the solemn pine trees; weighing oddly on the fan-like palm trees; topping the bland apartment block skyline like the white icing rooftops of a gingerbread village. Here in Istanbul, where I often wonder if I've even scratched the surface of understanding the culture, snow appeared like a trusty ally, a gesture of welcoming. It felt like bumping into an old friend many miles from home, at a terminal in Heathrow or at a juice stand in Bangkok. It was a surprise, and then, seconds later, I couldn't imagine it ever not being there.
A perfect way to start the work week. If only I could get my students to stop bringing snowballs to class. How do Canadian teachers do it?