That is what Amiens looked like and the surrounding Picardie region for a couple of days. It started to snow Monday, but the buses were still functioning normally. School was in session, shops were open. Come Monday night, it started to snow without stopping, snowing into Tuesday morning with great gusts of wind that rattled my windows. The snowpocalypse had hit. Normally on Tuesdays (see my earlier post A+ Tuesday) I have six hours of classes – it’s my longest day of school plus I have a two-hour meeting with les Tombés de la Charrette. I have class from 9 am to 5 pm and am unable to return home and relax until 8 pm at night. So I found myself at 7 am, on Facebook, chatting with my fellow Masters students about the situation. Many students, and professors, live outside of Amiens, as it is the only Masters program within proximity of Beauvais, Saint Quentin, and within reach of the major axes of Lille and Paris for those professors who teach at more than one institution. The situation was epic: roads closed, buses no longer running, trains canceled, people stranded. I was in my pajamas and not about to attempt the thirty minute walk uphill to find out whether or not my university was closed. Luckily, a friend of mine ventured over to confirm for all of us waiting passively on our computers that the Campus was closed – not enough personnel had shown up and the scolarité, the administrative office that informs us of canceled classes, was locked. We got the news an hour and a half later – the entire university system in the region of Picardie was closed for Tuesday and Wednesday, as were all the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. We were faced with our first official snow days of the year.
You might have expected that I’d joyfully run down my five flights of stairs to make snow angels and snow forts, but despite the lack of vehicle circulation, there was still a lot of foot traffic. People were skiing down major throughways. The snow had been cleared on sidewalks and roads, and the remaining piles of snow transformed into that ugly gray mess which resembles wads of chewed paper. And as the day progressed and temperatures dropped, black ice began to cover the sidewalks and streets, turning walking into a very risky business. I preferred to survey the scene from my balcony up above. In the meantime, I’ve been watching TV, reading, and finally making progress on my Harry Potter thesis. I just got an email this morning that my two hours of class on Friday have also been canceled, although the university will officially reopen this afternoon. I have yet to determine whether I will still be teaching English tonight and tomorrow evening – the buses and trains might not yet be fully functioning.
I have survived the March tempest thus far and am looking forward to day light savings to finally come into effect here in Picardie – nothing like an extra hour of (hypothetical) sunshine to warm up though soul, à la chicken noodle soup.