Encounter with heavy snow

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By Ben Emata

From Across the Seas

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I WAS visiting my daughter in Germany not too long ago when winter got me in the small city of Kolbermoor. The place was just about an hour from Munich, and it looks like any other city in the Philippines. I was told that according to predictions heavy snow was going to engulf the place in a few days. So I told myself it was nice because I have lived in the USA for more than twenty years and I never had seen snowfall ever since. After all, the state of California, hardly had snowfall except in some cities located in the mountain areas.

I was elated so much because I could experience snowing that time. Winter in any place in Europe is always cooler than anywhere else unlike in America. So one moment my daughter and her family took me to a far-away place and there we were caught by heavy snowfalls.

I had myself wrapped with heavy clothes, sweater, overall outfit and everything to keep me warm all the time. When heavy snow started dropping from the skies, I welcomed it gracefully and I enjoyed them hitting my person. It was so cool and wherever I went thick snows continued hitting me. We were laughing and enjoying so much with the situation. One moment I tried snow skating. It was filled with thrill and suspense.

While heavy snowflakes were going on, my son-in-law made a snowman right in front of me. Being a Londoner, he made snowmen so fast and in just minutes, a beautiful snowman my size was standing beside me. I was really fascinated by the snowman and the trees around us.

They looked like those in Christmas cards. After several hours playing with the snow, we went home where large bowls of very hot chicken soup served to us by my daughter. I thought things are over on the matter of snow. In a few days, they took me to public swimming pools where we all took a bath in the open air. I was surprised such a thing could take place while temperature was below zero, heavy snowing and we were swimming in the open air pools with warm water. And there were dozens of Germans swimming too adult and children alike.

The next day we went swimming again in other open air swimming pools until I developed liking it and every day we went swimming. I had adjusted to the temperature. While we Filipinos hate wintertime the Germans love it so much and they welcome it every year. To them it is lovely during wintertime.

I also discovered there are so many Germans who are Roman Catholics and their cities have big catholic churches even bigger than those we have in the Philippines. The irony is I had not seen a protestant church anywhere in Germany.

Another thing that I discovered in Germany are the friendship of its people. Anywhere, I met people with smiles. I went to a post office to send cards to friends and there some Germans engaged me in a friendly conversation even if we never had met ever since in our lives.

The countryside looks precisely like those in the provinces in Mindanao. The houses are beautiful and adorned with flower gardens. They are located just meters away from the highways. There are trees around and some people are working in the fields or gardens.

Along the highways are fields where horses or other animals roam around freely. I saw agricultural fields and farm works done with heavy machineries. Completely mechanized no wonder, they are rich people and the country is self-sufficient. Farming in our country is so far behind with the use of domestic animals and other forms of implements.

And not so many people are involved in their agricultural venture. You see machines and few personnel operating them. If we could only have that kind of farm work, maybe our country would be better in food production. We still have to adjust.

[Email: benemata@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 22, 2013.

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