I stand at my 1st floor window, watching as the cloud of fog rolls in from the east. Pillows of translucent cotton cushioning the spaces between the houses. Yesterday the snow had come. Tiny dots slowly drifting to the ground soon becoming thick white confetti. My classmates and I had been gleeful. A group of international students in this tiny town in the East of Germany. As the lecture drew to a close, Mr. Kaufmann, noticing how half the class kept glancing out the window, wished as an enjoyable weekend 10 minutes early. We walked back down in the general direction of the library. Kicking at the white drifts with our boots, trudging through the fresh snow and leaving our prints. Mr. Kaufmann would exit our Faculty building 10 minutes later, unblemished snow before him, leaving a single trail of steps as he walked to his car.
I step out the door and choke myself with my light brown scarf, shielding my neck from the wisps of cold air struggling to seep into my heavy jacket. I like winter less this year. I had stared out the window for 20 minutes before finally getting the will power to venture outside. My fresh glee at the first snow I touched long worn away by the grinding cold, lazy sun and filthy slush. I look down watching where my feet step. No falling today. These sections of ice-slicked sidewalk have claimed a fair number of pedestrians. I watch my boots rise and fall and rethink my folly at buying light tan winter boots last autumn. They were a bargain though, at 20 euro, but they will not be tan for much longer.
I was out of milk, eggs and cheese. Knowing tomorrow was Sunday I needed to do my grocery shopping today. As I curve through the city streets towards the supermarket a few bicycles zoom past, sprays of light brown liquid following them faithfully. I had decided against taking my bike today. The healed scar on my right cheekbone the reason why. Thank God I had suffered nothing more when I fell.
A dark blonde young man walks past me in a sweater and beanie. My bulging black jacket, scarf and flapped hat look like overkill in contrast. But I am allowed. After all I am foreign. The thick layer of Vaseline on my chocolate brown cheeks giving me a curious glow. Jacky had told me to use it faithfully in the cold months; a protective layer from the cold air and biting wind that would chap my lips and dry out my skin faster than a desert wind. My body still believes it is in Kenya. Kenya – sigh. Nairobi – double sigh. The city in the sun. The city with the sun. I raise my head for a second as I continue my trudging, watching the still light grey clouds parked above. It’s been like this for 3 weeks; day comes and goes but the sun is never seen.
I get back to my room, the shopping tote filled with cartons, vegetables and the 2 boxes of American style chocolate chip cookies I threw in last minute. I pull off my leather gloves and flex my rigid fingers before rubbing them together. I pull up a chair to the computer with my hot chocolate and the box of cookies. 48 hours. That’s when my next class is. For now I can huddle indoors and have the walls shield me from the -4 ºC weather. I notice the reminder on my phone – lunch with the girls at Angela’s. My mind immediately starts conjuring up a suitable excuse.