Let it snow!

2 12 2009

Where does a Hawaiian island girl go on vacation? To places where it is cold and snowy. To places where I can wear clothes! In a few days I’ll be on my way to central Europe to visit the Christmas markets where I know it will be very cold.  I am wishing for snow.

Somewhere along the river cruise route from Germany to Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary there might be some of that falling white fluffy stuff. Maybe in Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, or Budapest? I’ve got my snow boots packed! In the meantime, our WordPress host is accommodating by snowing on Rebekah’s Studio. Cool, huh? (pun intended)

Here’s a picture of a picture of my very first snowman the year I declared, as an adult, that I wanted a winter vacation. It was the first time I deliberately traveled to a cold place. My visit to Anchorage, Alaska, coincided with the Fur Rendezvous festival in Anchorage.

Heather and Sean showed me how to build a snowman in Alaska

A couple of seasons before that, it snowed in the mountains on the San Francisco peninsula in California during the coldest winter since such-and-such year. I was working for Sunset magazine at the time. That winter I remember the first snowball thrown at me at Yosemite National Park where the waterfalls were frozen and the scenery was gorgeous-crisp and quiet.

Throughout our 25 years of marriage, DH and I often visited his parents, brother’s and sister’s families in Pennsylvania during the winter holiday, so often that my friends would ask if I ever went anywhere else besides Pennsylvania.

The last December we went to the East Coast, before this one, was to see his parents at their funerals within two weeks of each other. We huddled under the falling snow and placed orchid lei on the ground in the church’s memorial garden where we buried their ashes.

One weekend we took the train from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. We stayed at the Pen Arts building that is the headquarters for the National League of American Pen Women, the members’ clubhouse. The staff went home for the weekend, and the mansion was ours. To trek around in the snow the next morning, though, we first had to get out of the front door. Thank goodness DH remembered how to shovel the steps and to say, “Yes, thank you!” when a man came by to ask if he should salt the sidewalk.

If you have to live in wintry weather all the time, I’m sure it could be more tiresome than romantic. But if you are born and reared in Hawaii as I was, it’s a novelty.

When I was in Osaka, Japan, one February for the opening of the Oceania exhibit at Minpaku (the National Museum of Ethnology) at Senri Park, Professor Shimizu regretted to tell me, when I asked, that it probably would not snow. A few minutes into lunch, he was really surprised to see the white flakes falling outside the dining room window. But I wasn’t.

Here is the link to Minpaku. The photo you see is an exact replica of Hale Kuai Cooperative store with authentic Native Hawaiian made products in Hauula, Oahu, that I co-founded with Ka Lahui Hawaii. How it got there as the Hawaiian part of the permanent Oceania exhibit at the museum is an amazing story, a real memoir that I’ll share with you someday.

I say it’s fitting that WordPress bless this blog with snow. Please enjoy it warmly in front of your computer! I’m planning to send holiday posts while abroad.

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke



4 responses

5 12 2009

Hi, Ex-Roomie! I’d forgotten that you roomed with Cynthia. Hmmm, funny, I think I was in San Francisco the same time. That was the coldest winter I mentioned.
Did you see the weather report for the Islands last night? Be aware of the big waves on Oahu today and Monday! We’ve been advised to avoid the beach for safety reasons, so we might be exercising Alice Brown elsewhere. The pup doesn’t do ocean.

5 12 2009

The first snow I remember I was still in New Jersey and I was probably in first or second grade. The snow banked higher then me and we built tunnels in the snow. It was neat. And being of a young age I have no memory of the cold.

The next snow of remembrance was in Tahoe. Ken and Noreen Kuniyuki, Cynthia Oi, Ken Kobayashi and I went there to ski. Kuniyuki had no sense of how to break and simply went down the beginner hills aiming for a bush. I think Cynthia got injured and had to go down on a toboggan. Thank goodness this comment page has a spell check feature. Actually we had an almost snow experience before that when snow flakes fell out in the Avenues in SF where Cynthia, Ken and I lived and we rushed outside to look up into the sky and see the flakes fall. Even though it was not my first experience with snow, it never ceases to create joy to see the snow falling.

The last experience was in Seattle. I was staying with my nieces and my nephew-in-law and grand niece in the suburbs and between Seattle and Lynnwood it snowed heavy. I was driving and had only one slip and slide. Well, two. But we made it home safe and everyone said what a great driving job I did for someone not used to driving in snow for years as they all bolted from the car when it came to a full stop in the parking space!

I love the snow flakes on your page and look forward to updates from Europe.

Travel safe to you & DH


3 12 2009

Aloha sartenada. Two years ago I went to Kragerø (Norway), Helsinki in your country, and St. Petersburg! But that was in September. When planning to visit my friend in Kragerø, I did not pay much attention to the fact that I would be in Helsinki to board the train to St. Petersburg. Finland was a nice surprise. I loved Helsinki, and I want to go back! If it is in winter, you would have to advise me on what kind of clothes to wear. Is Kemi where the indigenous Sami live in the very north? The snow castle sounds amazing. Thank you for writing.

3 12 2009

Great. Have ever heard about Scandinavia or Finland? We have snow, real winter and many things to enjoyed during winter in the real North. In Finland we are building every winter world’s biggest Snow Castle in Kemi. Did You knew that? Snow castle has also a hotel, inside the castle. What about sleeping in snow castle? Experience for the rest of life!

Also in Kemi You can take a cruise onboard of an icebreaker. When on that kind of cruise You can also swim among ice. Yes, You read right. The crew arrenges special clothes for swimming, it is a great fun. Think about it how special photos or videos You could take when swimming in the see among ice. Later when back home You could tell to Your friends on the beach of Waikiki about this.

So the real winter is in the North and of course beyond the Polar Circle.

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