Barcelona Blizzard of 2010

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The view from our terrace
 It’s February first which means we’re officially in the dead of winter. The dazzling sunshine and brilliant blue skies have been chased from the city by rain and frosty temperatures. The truth is, we knew it would happen sooner or later. Not even a city as privileged as Barcelona can escape the wrath of winter. But let’s face it – winter here can’t really be considered “bad”. It’s barely even a spec on the yearly calendar – a time when the city continues to buzz with energy, just under umbrellas or inside the cafes. People continue to congregate in the plazas, meet friends for a coffee, and seize the remaining treasures in every possible retail establishment hoping to get the best bargains during “rebajas” season. It practically takes an act of God to bring this city to a halt, and there’s talk of it coming this week. The white menace we call snow is looming on the horizon.
We didn’t believe it would happen two years ago either. I went about my business as usual – got ready for work, took the metro to school, and brought my umbrella because of course it was raining. But one thing was noticeably different…it was COLD. The kids were consumed with excitement of an impending snow storm coming our way. They were the experts…they just KNEW it was going to happen. On the other hand, the adults know best and we knew there was no way it was going to happen. How wrong we were. The steady rain suddenly turned to a wintery white, and within minutes it was snowing with a fury! Before long it had consumed the whole of our campus and the surrounding area. It was gorgeous.
Reality set in after the magic of what was actually happening became all too real. How are we going to get home? Will school close early? I had grown accustomed to the protocol of the public school system when moments like this occur. But we have no district office to make district-wide decisions. Our official calls are made locally, and if we didn’t act with the utmost precision, it could have turned into a crisis. The roads were slick and the school buses were going nowhere fast. It took just under an hour to get to the Diagonal, a major artery that usually takes five minutes to reach from school.
By this point the city began to buckle…people abandoned their cars and opted for the metro or tram. The metro became a massive mob of people desperately trying to get home, to get to safety. Eventually, even the metro was no longer an option and people were left to walk home, including Jeff! Fortunately for me I had arrived home hours before mayhem struck, which granted me the opportunity to soak in the silence that had squelched the buzzing energy of Barcelona. I have never known the city to be so peaceful since that March afternoon, and I can’t help but wonder if history will repeat itself.
What’s the big deal you ask? It hadn’t snowed in Barcelona in over 40 years, and the “blizzard” made ASB history. The first ever Snow Day was made official on March 9, 2010!
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