Greetings from snowy Washington DC! It’s a far cry from my location last year when we still lived in the desert landscape of Dubai in the UAE. I clearly have forgotten a few things about living with the snow, since moving away 3 years ago, such as: shovel the pathway out of your house while the snow is soft...NO MATTER WHAT!
This past weekend, we got a lovely blanket of snow. The kids had fun playing outside, while I enjoyed sitting by the warm fire. But we all forgot to shovel the snow! By the time we emerged the next day, that beautiful snow had refrozen in the night into a treacherous slippery sheet of ice. We had to tip toe ever-so carefully to get from our door to the road without falling. Lesson learned!
One of the fun and challenging parts of moving around the world is learning how to navigate the particular landscape of each place we land in. I’ve learned the best thing I can do is pay close attention to what my neighbors are doing. So when I walked out the day after the snowstorm last week, I noticed every single of my neighbors had neatly shoveled their walkways and could walk safely out of their houses without fear of slipping (unlike us!).
Similarly, I learned in my first few weeks of driving in Dubai, NOT to park in the one school parking lot space which happened to be empty of cars (but full of sand) because your car might get stuck in that sand (as of course mine did – which is why no one else had parked there!). (Note to self: Dubai's very modern infrastructure and skyline sits atop a very sandy desert!).
Our family is still recalibrating to the skill set needed to live back home in the US. Every place we go, it seems, that skill set needs to expand, because each part of the world is unique. So wherever we are, I try to watch what the locals are doing and remind my children to do that too! It’s a good cultural (and landscape) lesson for us all.
Ambika Anand Prokop is a teacher, environmental planner and mom. She has lived with her family in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, and she loves creating opportunities for kids to engage with the many fantastic cultures and landscapes of our planet!