英文

Study Abroad:A sub-zero walk

【明報專訊】This morning I went to the backyard to throw out the compost. I never imagined that a 200-metre walk could be so arduous. The temperature has been consistently in the sub-zero territory, reaching -16C at one point; snow, once a rare and almost miraculous sight, is now a daily occurrence and relentlessly so. Since it never quite gets warm enough for the snow to thaw, it accumulates over time and becomes a thick blanket that softly smothers every shape you can make out.

I walked down the icy ramp gingerly, lest I slide and painfully crash my bottom with the floor. But this was only the beginning. As I set foot in the snow, I realised the glistening mass under my feet was more treacherous than it seemed. It must have been almost a foot thick. Every step I took was like walking on clouds, stepping through nothing, except that these clouds chilled you to the bone with snowflakes that stealthily seeped into your unimpressive shoes. The snow hid the compost pile too, but I quickly finished my job and waded through the path once more. My feet were losing heat fast. By the time I got back indoors, I could not feel anything in them other than pain.

The winter in upstate New York is nothing like what I experienced in England. English winter is milder, wetter, and greyer, snowing once or twice a year if you're lucky. All you really need is an extra layer from what you wear in Hong Kong. Ithaca, meanwhile, means serious business. It doesn't even rain, just snows. Waterfalls and gorges freeze in time, their motion stopped mid-air by an icy spell. I really should have taken my father's advice of buying a pair of snow boots.

■Writer's Profile

Alice is a freshman at Cornell University intending to major in Economics and Computer Science, having previously studied in the UK for six years. A lover of languages, she studies French, Italian, Japanese and picks up bits of other languages when she can.

(Email: sze.ayw@gmail.com)

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