Far from Home is an occasional series in which we document a year in the life of international students at Penn State Behrend.
By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend
“Beep-beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep-beep!”
When Craig Miranda’s alarm went off at 6 a.m. last Thursday, he awoke with a feeling of eagerness. His friends warned him it was coming, but some things need to be seen to be believed.
“I was skeptical,” says Miranda, a first-year computer science major at Penn State Behrend. “When I looked outside, it was completely white. I immediately ran downstairs and I was the only person outside in shorts.”
The Kuwait native had never seen snow before last week when the Erie region received nearly a foot in the span of 24 hours. In Kuwait, summer temperatures can exceed 120 degrees. Even in winter, average daytime temperatures rarely fall below 60 degrees.
Miranda says he longed for snow and cooler temperatures when he decided to come to college in the United States, so last week’s storm was a welcome sight.
“It was just unbelievable,” he says. “After my exam that morning, I had a snowball fight with friends who also live in Niagara Hall. I don’t know how to make a snowball, but I’m getting there.”
As the day went on, more snow began to accumulate. Overall, Erie received 12.6 inches of snow, the earliest occurrence of a snowfall of this magnitude for the region.
The heavy snowfall might have been a burden for others, but Miranda remained enamored with every flake that fell. He even shared his happiness with his family back home.
“I Skyped with my parents and took them on a tour around campus,” he says. “It was awesome because they have never seen snow either. They were so thrilled and just wanted to be here, too.”
For Miranda, the snowfall helped paint a picture of the holiday season, which he had only ever seen on television before.
“I’ve always pictured Christmas as caroling with snow falling from the sky, but I’ve never seen it until now,” Miranda says.
Given that he chose to attend college in America’s snowbelt, last week was probably only the beginning of the fun for Miranda; last year, Erie recorded 138.4 inches of snow fall and earned the honor of America’s snowiest city.
His friends have warned him that he might eventually tire of the snow, but he’s not buying it.
“I doubt I’ll ever get bored of snow,” Miranda says. “Coming from Kuwait, where it barely ever even rains, snow is just marvelous.”