“I’ve never seen snow coming from the sky before!” 

With a face full of wonder, my freshman friend from California spun around outside without a coat, giggling at the first snowfall of the year. Childlike glee took over my six-foot tall assistant director in the middle of musical rehearsal. The half of the cast that came from warm states either ran outside to join him or smiled through the window. But the rest of us just sat back and laughed thinking, You’re going to hate it in a week!

I was born and raised in Michigan. Michigan winters mean pure white snow turns to gray slush in a matter of hours, cars get trapped in the driveway from overzealous snowplows, freezing walks to the bus stop and highways jams from blinding sleet. I, of course, still feel a twinge of excitement when I wake up to dusted rooftops and iced trees. But that only lasts for about 30 seconds, or until I remember I have to walk to class or clear off my car, and I begrudgingly leave my warm bed and embark into the cold.

For most of us jaded Michiganders and northern state residents, the snow lost its magic long ago. Of course we want a white Christmas and maybe even a snow day, if we’re lucky, but for the most part, it’s a nuisance.

But in the huge out-of-state population that the University of Michigan becomes home to, some students have never seen snow before. Freshmen are often in awe of their first snowfall, and even upperclassmen still get a thrill from the first of the season. Snow to them doesn’t necessarily mean slush-covered jeans and traffic jams. They just see a beautiful scene that rivals a Hallmark Christmas movie. For those who see snow as a standard occurrence, we haven’t felt that way in a long time. But seeing our friends’ faces light up at the first sign of winter, we start to remember the magic we once felt.

Another one of my California freshman friends FaceTimed her mom the day of the first snowfall. Countless Instagram stories showed the snow-covered campus, window views and friends in fluffy scarves. I told one of my best friends to look out her window, and she texted me back “IT’S CHRISTMAS.” Snowmen appear in the diag, a block M crop circle covers Palmer field, snow angels grace the North Quad courtyard.

My friends from California remind me how I felt when snow excited me. When a new coating of snow meant snowball fights with my dad and igloo building with my sister. When we would peel off our sopping wet snow pants and seven other layers to drink hot chocolate so hot that the marshmallows melted. My California friends remind me of the look on my sister’s face when we thought we were going to have a green Christmas, but instead woke up Christmas morning to a snowy scene: a Christmas miracle.

My heart has been frozen to snow for a while, but seeing my friends’ joy at their first or just a fresh snowfall is enough for me to start to thaw. So thank you, California friends, for making snow magical again.

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