Spring Is Coming*

It’s amazing just how happy a temperature above freezing and the sight of bare pavement can make me. For now, Aomori is experiencing a bit of a warm (i.e., temperatures above 40ºF/6ºC) spell, and I’ve been enjoying it for all it’s worth. This weather feels downright balmy.

It's hard to believe that in six short weeks, these trees will be heavy with cherry blossoms.
It’s hard to believe that in six short weeks, these trees will be heavy with cherry blossoms.

Spring is coming! The snowbanks are beginning to recede, the sidewalks are starting to resurface, and my dependency on my heater is decreasing day by day. And it’s a good thing, too. I can feel myself reaching the point of annoyed frustration when it comes to the chilly weather, and when that’s coupled with the homesickness I feel when I’m not teaching, I get a bit cranky. I definitely think that Aomori is going to make me like one of the stereotypical cantankerous old men who lecture whiny kids about how, in their day, they walked five miles in a snowstorm just to get groceries. Any complaints from other people regarding how terrible their winter is now get an exasperated eye roll and snort of derision from me. (Sorry, friends. To borrow a line from A Song of Ice and Fire‘s Ygritte, “You know nothing.”)

Yesterday was by far the nicest day we’ve had thus far, and it’s making me look forward to the days when I can haul my bike out from my shed, do yoga with my balcony door open, and go for morning runs without packing on the stifling layers. Even though that’s still a few weeks away, the sheer fact that it’s warm enough to rain is getting me excited.

Still plenty of snow up on the mountains, though...
Still plenty of snow up on the mountains, though…

And I’m not the only one. As soon as the snow begins to melt, one of my neighbors hauls out flowers – plastic, fabric, and potted alike – to display all along the ledge across the road from his house.

Since there's still too much snow for real blooms, plastic will have to do.
Since there’s still too much snow for real blooms to grow, plastic will have to do.

As yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, I felt I needed a little bit of added green in my life. Since a school band concert meant I couldn’t join my ALT cohorts at an Irish pub in Misawa for some shenanigans, I settled for green baked goods instead. As my mum always ensured that St. Patrick’s Day breakfast was green in our house growing up, I cooked up some emerald pancakes. It felt like a little bit of my American home was in Aomori. However, I think that Childhood Me would have a heart attack out of shock, since now it’s not food coloring that make made my ‘cakes green, but spinach…and not Bisquick that made the batter, but almonds and oatmeal. Oh, how things change. Delicious all the same, though!

Healthier than green beer...and, in my book, more satisfying, too.
Healthier than green beer…and, in my book, more satisfying, too.

*Though we’ll likely still get at least one more major snowstorm, because Aomori’s winter is a fickle beast who refuses to loosen her iron grasp without a fight…so I reserve the right to complain a bit more when a rogue blizzard dumps another foot of snow on the city.

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