Local schools have had five snow days in less than two weeks: a record even for Maine old timers. Phil Page is one of the longest-serving staff members at Lincoln Academy: he graduated in 1971, and came back to work as a staff member in 1984. He recalls, “We haven’t had this many snow days in a row since I started working at LA. In the winter of ‘77-‘78, when I was still at Medomak, we had so many snow days the state gave us special permission to not make the days up in the summer. But that was the last time I have seen this much snow in such a short time!”
Snow days are universally popular with local students, who love the chance catch up on sleep and school work, play in the snow, and have an unscheduled break in their routines.
But what about the boarding students? Lincoln Academy is now home to 60 students from around the world. Some of them come from places with lots of snow, like the Czech Republic, Russia, and Northern China. Others come from warm countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, and are seeing snow for the first time. What do they make of the Winter of 2015?
LA junior Nobonita Chowdhury hails from Bangladesh. Before this winter she had never seen snow, except for artificial snow in winter theme parks in Dubai and Thailand. How does she like the winter? “It’s good for me! I get to enjoy a lot of snow days. I love to watch the snow falling outside. Usually on snow days I stay inside my dorm (currently upstairs in the Newcastle Public House until she moves into the new dorm in a few weeks) with my roommate, cuddled under blankets, watching movies.” Does she get outside at all? “I walk to school, at least! I haven’t been on any of the sledding trips or anything yet, but I want to!”
Shuoyao Li is a sophomore from an area of China where it snows, but not often. “It snows maybe once a year.” How does he like all the storms? “The snow is big this year. Bigger than last year. I like it! You can relax your mind! Mostly I stay inside–the snow is too big to go out!”
Karolina Duchkova is a senior from Skvyra, Ukraine. She is used to the snow. “The weather is same as here,” she says, “but in Ukraine we don’t have ‘snow days.’ If it’s below minus 20 degrees celsius (about zero Farenheit) no one goes to school, for economic reasons; they don’t want to heat the buildings. Also many people don’t have cars. And no plows. In Ukraine, you want to get somewhere you get there yourself, no one plows for you!” How does Karolina like the snow days? “It is nice to have a little extra time to work on college applications.” She certainly doesn’t let the snow affect her wardrobe choices: Karolina wears spiked high-heeled boots most days. “In Ukraine girls wear high heels no matter what the weather!”
Can Yilmez Yozgat is a freshman from Izmir, Turkey, which has weather “like California or Florida” according to Can. “It rains in winter, and is very hot in summer. There are lots of beaches. I never had a snow day in my life! The worst part is the paths are slippery! And sometimes you spend all day waiting for something to happen. If you don’t plan something, it’s boring. But I went sledding for the first time. It was really fun! I didn’t expect to like it, but I did!” He intends to buy some winter gear in time for the next storm. “The first time I went sledding I wore only one pair of pants, and I couldn’t feel my legs! I think I will buy some snow pants. At Renys they have snow pants for like $25!”
Junior David Kim of Seoul, South Korea, is used to the cold, but he does not like missing school. “When we don’t have school (because of snow) I set up my schedule to study the subject I would have at that time on a regular day. I don’t want to get behind.” But he doesn’t study all the time. “I shoveled the path to the gym so I could play indoor soccer. It was fun, but my back is sore from shoveling!”
Poppy Dong is an LA junior from the Inner Mongolia region of China, where, she says, “It’s snowing now there, too, but not this deep! We have snow here that is half a person deep! It doesn’t snow that much at home.” Poppy continues, “I really love snow, and not just because of the snow days. I go sledding every single morning. It is super fun! We also help shovel the steps of the (Baptist) church in town.”
There is one universal response to the snow among this diverse group: everyone is sending pictures home to amaze their families around the world. Can Yilmaz Yozgat says, “My mother went to college in the east part of Turkey, where it is cold and has snow. She says my pictures remind her of college.” Nobonita Chowdhury’s mother reminded her, “Just imagine, your brother has never seen snow! You are so lucky!”
Poppy Dong’s mother didn’t believe her pictures at first. She said, “Are you sure that’s not Photoshop or something? How do you guys even walk outside?” Poppy grinned, “I told her, ‘we shoveled!’”