The snow began falling slowly, gently, but consistently in Stockholm on Monday. It was so perfect that at work, we all said it felt like we were living in a snow globe.
And then buckets of snow began dumping down on Tuesday and it carried on through Wednesday. As we came home from an election night party on Tuesday around 4.30 am, the city noise was muffled, peaceful, and a giant polar fleece blanket covered the streets, cars and landscape.
Over the course of 24 hours or so, we got more than 30 centimeters (one foot) of white, fluffy snow. It was up to my knees. I could not open my balcony door more than a nudge as the snow had formed huge, unmovable drifts there.
On Wednesday, all that snow stopped the buses, left people stranded in their cars for hours on the highways and even closed a few schools. Being the hardy Vikings that they are though, people still rode their bikes through it.
For me, it provided a much-needed distraction from the bitter dialogue of the US election.
Snow makes me happy. It always has, dating back to school days when I would eagerly watch and listen for the list of school closings and delays, then let out a whoop of excitement when we got that beloved snow day off.
After the election was called on Wednesday morning, I turned off the TV at last. I worked at home because I did not feel like talking about the election with everyone after getting only an hour or two of sleep. And I got out for a tramp through the giant snow drifts. Walking around in a winter wool coat and knitted hat, I was immediately coated in the wet, white stuff. I quickly realized I had on the wrong winter clothes—I needed the ski gear on.
And I could not help but think of the Swedish expression: “det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder”– there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing– and how much it applied to me in terms of the bad clothing at that moment. But I stayed out anyway, regularly shaking off the snow like a furry dog. I just needed to be out and doing something, trying to make sense out of election results that I did not understand.No, that’s not a white hat that I am wearing.
I needed comfort food, so I roasted a chicken for dinner. It was just what I needed. I went back into the office the next day, got hugs from coworkers and began digging out what was bothering me.
Basically, I realized that I really wanted a woman to be elected President. I wanted it to make up for all those years of working in the US when it was assumed that my male coworkers were in charge because they were male. Then when it was determined that yes, I was the boss, the next comment would be: look how cute and young you are. How can you be the boss? And for all those other ways that I was made to feel less in my role because I was a woman.
I wanted a woman in the White House for my young nieces. So that they could know that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
But what I wanted did not happen in this election. Even so, I remain hopeful that it will happen. And I hope that all this anger and passion from this divisive election will be channeled in positive ways. (I have friends and family members who voted for both candidates and I am not looking to start a war here, just digest my own feelings.)
I am still admiring the snow. And in a near perfect winter combination, we had some relief from the endless November gray with brilliant sunshine today. It was truly lovely
Apparently, this was a record-setting snowfall. It was rated as Stockholm’s snowiest November day in 111 years. Swedish forecasters described it as a snökanon– lake-effect snow (when a cold air mass moves over a warmer boyd of water). But we just laughingly called it the snow cannon or snowpocalypse.
Thinking back to my favorite childhood show day activities, I think I just may have to build a snowwoman tomorrow. And maybe bake some chocolate chip cookies too.
Life does go on.