Stepping out today, the sky was clear blue and the sun was shining brightly. It was perfect weather – minimal wind, a mix of warm and cool at the same time. Just perfect.
The snow storm about two weeks ago left practically everything covered in white. For about three days or so after, roads had to be cleared, snow had to be shoveled off pathways and cars had to be dug out. As you can see in the picture, snow is still gathered in dirty heaps by the side of the road. Some of it has melted though, because the sun has been out and it went above freezing point for a couple of days. In fact, instead of snow, we had rain occasionally. So that was nice.
Friends I chat with online ask about the cold, well, it’s great that I don’t perspire anymore. I can head outside in two layers when it’s -5 °C, but when the winds come though, it chills me to the bones and I just want to head indoors as soon as I can. Winter has been a new and nice experience, but now I just can’t wait for spring to come. It won’t be too cold or too warm. I think I miss wearing just a T-shirt and jeans, but that said, I prefer being here to the humidity in Singapore.
Sometimes you can tell if spring is coming. You start to see the occasional bird across the sky. I’ve seen flocks of birds flying in formation twice in February. I’ve seen deer come out at night, possibly searching for whatever green grass could be found. There’s a stream down near the Commons that appeared frozen a while back. Last night while passing it, the stream was flowing again. Probably just the surface was frozen back then.
Someone made a joke about global warming. He was saying a group should come out and advocate for global warming because 1) Coney Island will disappear under the higher sea level (I’m not sure why he had something against Coney Island) and 2) it wouldn’t be so cold anymore with less snow and less ice. Almost everyone I’ve met asked me what am I doing here in Ithaca because they can’t comprehend why I would choose to be in such a cold place. They then ask what the weather is like in Singapore and I tell them it’s tropical humid weather all year round with seasonal monsoons. And they think it’s fantastic because you don’t get chilled to the bones. I tell them it’s not quite as fantastic because even a leisurely walk induces torrents of perspiration. Always the case of grass being greener on the other side.
Turned 23 today. I usually celebrate my birthday with family and friends over dinner. And this was my first birthday away from home. It was a pretty regular day, today. I didn’t have anything planned, so it was nice when C said they were going to take me to coffee. This week is the week before we leave for spring break, so everyone is busy with assignments and midterms.
Anyway, I will be catching a bus from Ithaca to New York City this Saturday morning and spend the day there before a night flight to London and have three nights there. I’ll then take a flight to Paris and spend two nights there before a flight to Liverpool, where I’ll meet my cousin R at the airport because her flight from Geneva arrives ten minutes before mine. We’ll explore Liverpool together and have a roast dinner. The next day, I’ll take a train to London for my flight back to New York. One night in New York and a bus back to Ithaca the next day. A terribly rushed spring break jetting from place to place, but I promise I will be back in Europe one day to take my time.
I will be alone for London and Paris, and with R once I reach Liverpool. It would be my first major attempt at solo travel. It turned out the exchange students had different plans and of course, Europe has always been my dream. I’ll be staying at youth hostels so I’m quite sure I will meet other like-minded young people backpacking. For the past few days I’ve been reading up about the various things to see and do, as well as booking air tickets and hostels. Yes, there has been a lot to read up on and I am rather proud of myself thus far. But of course with help from R since she’s now a Euro expert.
Been thinking about my itinerary and here’s a rough one, of course subject to time and priority:
London – Big Ben, London Eye, Emirates Stadium + tour, Covent Garden, watch Phantom of the Opera, Buckingham Palace, Parliament House, British Museum, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge and Tower of London
Paris – Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Montmartre, Place de la Concorde, Luxembourg Garden, Notre Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, George Pompidou Centre of Culture, Rue de Mouffetard and Moulin Rouge
P.S. the weather has taken a turn for the worse. It’s now -18 °C with wind chill at -30 °C, wind speed at 35 kph.