A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Without exaggeration one of the reasons for deciding to study in Europe was to experience the snow. Other reasons being, love for the subject and the ability to travel around in Schengen zone. I hail from a semi-arid region of India where an average winter day would be warmer than an average summer day in the Netherlands. Being able to experience snow was a fantasy. I owe much of this fantasy to 90’s bollywood songs shot in snow-capped Alps.
I arrived in Leiden in September. It was already cold enough that I had to wear a light sweater. Winter set in and Christmas was round the corner but there was no sign of snow yet. I spent much of January restless in anticipation. My class mates informed that not every winter in Netherlands would be snowy and suggested me to travel to Switzerland to certainly enjoy the snow. My disappointment grew and even started following the weather forecast on my iPhone. It was the second week of February. My term exams would be the coming month and major assignments were due to be submitted at the end of February, time for serious studies!
It was a lazy Sunday morning, freezing, cloudy and dark outside. I fetched a cup of coffee and set to study beside my lovely window. I observed some fluffy little blobs melting on window pane. Then I lifted my eyes to a distance and observed these cotton like blobs gently swaying and dancing, drifting and settling down on bare tree branches and cobbled stoned streets, exactly like I saw them in Bollywood song videos. I springed to life and ran outdoors in my shorts. Afraid that the snow would not last long, I dragged out my house mate in her flip-flops to click pictures for me. We could not stand the cold for long. So, we went in and settled beside our windows in the warmth of the room which is perched in a loft. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Then it continued to snow for the next few hours and in the night. I probably got clicked a 100 times by then. The next day walk to college was out of the world. The sky was blue, crystal clear and everything was milky white. Water in the canals started turning into ice. It was as if the city had a bridal make over with a veil covering its beautiful face. There was a sense of calmness and serenity. The gentle warmth of slanting sunrays made the feeling even more pristine. It was wonderful watching children cheering, playing and being dragged on little wooden sledges. Even adults couldn’t help their childlike behavior. On the other hand the transport was being thrown out of gear and people were complaining and cribbing. This has not dampened the spirit of the city though. The market was full as usual and people carried on their mundane activities as usual. It was truly an experience that is etched in my hind mind and I would cherish it for the rest of my life!