My Story

Happiness on the Tips of the Tongue

Written by Teguh Nguyen

What happens when you want something so bad. Something that you spend 4 years of your life planning. 8pm. The 2nd April 2006. Was that planned day for me. and I didn’t do anything that I had planned for. I did something better.

For as long as I remembered, I had always wanted to see the snow. I had seen snow on TV. In movies and have always wondered to myself. I would love to do that. Alas, being from Queensland, Australia, the closest thing that we got to snow was hail the size as little ball bearings. If we were lucky. But playing in the snow has always been my dream.

When I was in high school, my school would offer a trip to people who could afford it, a trip down to the ski field in Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia. I was always envious of the students that were able to go because my family was never able to afford such a trip. These students would come back and talk about how great the trip was. hanging out with people from school in a relaxed atmosphere. Those things I didn’t’ really care about. We went on camping trips all the time. That part sounded no different form the school camps that I had been on. What always got my attention was all the shenanigans that they got up to in the snow.

Snowball fights, Building snow men. Snow angels. It was fascinating to hear about all of those things. I would imagine what I would do if I ever had the opportunity to do so. Build up walls for protection. Carefully craft snowballs to throw at people. I thought about what I would do. and it always excited me.  Alas, my high school days passed without the experiencing the cold touch of snow, and It became a dream, and something to watch on T.V.

When I was in University, I became addicted to anime. I would watch a lot of it. As much as I loved the sci-fi anime, I enjoyed the slice of life animes more. Especially if they had scenes in there where there was snow fall. It was then where I fell in love with Japan. It wasn’t until my third year of university, that the prospects of going to Japan became an option for me. I looked into it, and my searches always came back to one place in particular. Hokkaido. So I looked into ways to getting myself to Japan. I found two.

The first option didn’t pan out for me, however, the second one did. It was even more exciting to me when they called me and told me the great news. I was going to live in Hokkaido. I prepared myself. I was over the moon. I prepared myself bought the warmest clothes that I had, as well as some of my summer clothing. I did my one-week training in Tokyo, and I was on the plane to Hokkaido. When I touched down. It was dark. and the person that I was going to meet took me to where I needed to go, without any talking. I was holed up in a hotel in Sapporo, where I walked around and touched and saw snow for the first time. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It was this gray slushy mess. nevertheless, I picked it up and played with it. It’s coldness reaching my fingers. I was happy. But a little disappointed.

After three days in Sapporo. I was taken to the town I was going to be living in. The town had cleaner snow. but that was buried in the deep fields where I couldn’t get to. But it was nice just seeing the snow, and being surrounded by white everywhere. On my third day living in town, something happened.

Late one night, I opened my window to let the cold air in. What greeted me was a curtain of white. It was snowing. The first time it had happened since being there for me. Without thinking. I put on my jacket and boots. I was still in my pajama’s. and I went outside. I went to the small park across the road, and I opened my mouth and started to catch the falling snow in my mouth. while dancing here and there. This was what being in the snow was supposed to feel like. I spent an hour outside in the snow.

A few day’s later, I was at a PTA welcoming party. One of the mothers stopped me and asked had I been outside a few nights earlier. I said yes. She proceeded to tell everyone that she saw me in the snow catching it in my mouth. and that I had looked really happy doing so. She also asked me if it was the first time I had seen snow. I confirmed to her that it was. She said that was why I was so happy.

With all the time thinking I wanted to create snowballs and throw them. The simple act of catching the snow in my mouth was the happiest time I’ve had while seeing snow. It was an impulsive mood. But still to this day. When it snows outside. It is the one thing that I alway have to do.

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