Snow day; turning a setback into a blessing

I completed my last exam of the semester on December 19. “Finally” I thought, “I am done, and I will now be able to take some time to relax.” If only I had known then that chaos was about to ensue.

As I stepped out of the exam hall I noticed it had began to snow. It started off as a light flurry that gradually escalated into a blizzard. It continued to snow all throughout the night. When I woke up the following morning and stepped outside I was greeted by a winter wonderland. I was used to seeing snow back in my hometown of Nelson BC, but I had never seen this much in Victoria, it was practically unheard of! However, my excitement quickly turned to apprehension when I began to learn about the consequences that this unexpected snowfall had on UVic and greater Victoria. As a result of the weather, the University was shut down for the day and all remaining exams got cancelled or postponed. This did not directly effect me since I had finished all my finals, but I could feel a nervous energy begin to build. This looming sense of anxiety intensified when all busses got cancelled as well as ferry services and flights. I slowly began to realize that getting off Vancouver Island and returning to the mainland was going to be a bit of a hassle. My plans of spending a relaxing Christmas with my family in Nelson started looking less and less like a realistic option.

On the morning of December 21, I packed up my bags and headed outside. Busses were still not running so I had to call a cab. I called every taxi service in Victoria and each one repeated the monotone message, “all cabs are currently occupied, please try again later”. At this point I began to panic. If I couldn’t get a ride to the ferry in the next couple days I might not make it home for Christmas. In this moment I felt like the worried protagonist in a Holiday rom com who found themselves snowed in for the Holidays. Except unlike the protagonist of a cheesy rom com, there wasn’t a mysteriously dashing stranger to fall in love with and make me understand the true meaning of Christmas. All I had was a pile of soggy luggage and a couple bucks left on my meal plan that was unlikely to sustain me for the next couple days.

Despite the bleak circumstances I found myself in, I was able to gain comfort from the presence of others who were in similar situations. I sat down and began chatting with other students who were also struggling to find transportation to the airport or ferry terminal. We pooled all our resources and efforts together in an attempt to find a ride. Even though I had only just met these people, there was an understanding that we were all in this together and we would find a way off this island as a team. It is these small moments of everyday compassion towards one another that reminds me why I decided to attend UVic; for the caring community.

After several hours of frantically calling relatives and friends, we were finally able to find a ride, but there were a couple hours to kill before they could pick us up. Just as I was settling down with a nice warm cup of hot cocoa, the sun came out. Seeing the snow glisten in the light melted all the worry and stress that I had been holding onto. Despite all the inconvenience the snow had caused, I could not deny how breathtakingly beautiful it was.

If you are unable to make it home this Holiday season, I hope you can find small moments of joy and beauty in the mundane, as well as support from those around you. The people you end up spending the break with might not be your friends or family, but through care for one another you can form a community.

 

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