Weather or Not

by Sarah Richardson

As winter approaches, Kentuckians brace themselves once again. Most residents are prepared, come what may – lower temperatures, ice, perhaps some snow. These are just a normal, if sometimes less desirable, part of the changing seasons.

Some, however, are not as familiar with four distinct seasons, and especially not the one presently looming just around the bend.

At Kentucky Mountain Bible College, the students prepare for winter much the same as other Kentuckians do. Sweaters are brought out of closets, boots are dusted, and time is spent trying to find a matching pair of gloves.

A small handful of students, however, are preparing for another cold winter in a foreign country.

Marie Derozin, a 22-year-old student at the college, hails from Haiti. She and her family moved to Orlando, Florida when she was 12 years old. She first moved to Kentucky in 2009 and, up to that point, she had never seen snow before.

Upon seeing it, her first reaction was “What is this?” She laughs as she remembers touching it, playing with it, and enjoying it – until she realized that her hands were so cold they were “burning.”

In response to Kentucky's winter weather, Derozin simply says, “it's colder than Florida, man.” In Haiti, she says, “we only have one climate, and that's the sun!” She doesn't remember ever being cold in Haiti. To her, the perfect temperature is eighty degrees – let it get down to seventy, and she starts feeling cold.

Derozin loves the mountains and trees of eastern Kentucky, especially in autumn. She even loves throwing the occasional snowball, but only if she has a double pair of gloves on.

Another student who has had to adjust in a different way is Aura Mariela Contreras. Contreras moved from Honduras with her family when she was eight years old, and they settled in Chicago. The 22-year-old admits that her favorite weather is cold weather – she doesn't remember much about the weather in Honduras, but she is certainly familiar with the weather in Chicago.

Contreras does remember that Honduras was hot – and heat is what she dislikes the most about Kentucky's year. In her opinion, Illinois is just right, and “the perfect temperature has to be 40 or 50s.” Her favorite season is fall. As she says, “it's incredible to see all the leaves change – I mean, I am literally surrounded by trees and when they all change color it looks like a rainbow, but even better.”

While Contreras is enjoying the cold this winter, yet another student will be joining Derozin in the search for more sweaters. Hannah Slydii Auri, a 24-year-old student from Papua New Guinea, moved to Kentucky four years ago.

Auri would quickly concur with Derozin that 75-80 degrees would be the perfect temperature. She admits that she likes snow, but she hates the cold – the cold weather made her sick for the first two years that she lived here.

“In PNG we have only two seasons,” Auri says, “wet (rain) and dry (sun).” Although she is adjusting well to our seasons and now enjoys spring, summer, and fall, she still hates winter.

The students of Kentucky Mountain Bible College, native and foreign alike, are indeed preparing for winter. Some await its coming with anticipation, while others simply shiver at the thought.

As Derozin steps out of the Davis Memorial Building on campus, the temperature is forty-six degrees and a cold rain is falling. She shakes her head and claims that she “can feel the snow coming.” She grins and wishes she had a “skip button” for the seasons. Auri would certainly agree – “I hate cold... its freezing cold and makes me sick.” But Contreras?

“OH MY WORD, are you kidding me, I LOVE IT!!!”