Dangers of Winter

     It was unexpected for the Ivaniks to see this type of weather. Kazakhstan never had freezing rain. “From where I come from, winter is winter. There is only snow in the winter season. It never rained.” The temperatures in Kazakhstan are always below freezing in the wintertime, so freezing rain was unheard of. “Of course we had ice. Just not black ice,” Pavel said.

     When they arrived at work, their manager was happy to see that they made it safely. Several of their coworkers had called out, so their boss was happy that some people still made it. When their shift ended, their coworker friend offered to drive them home and they accepted.

    “As soon as my friend started driving, I regretted my decision,” Nadezhda said. “The car was gliding, not driving.” She had wanted to get out of the car and walk home instead. But her friend insisted that she stay and that everything would be fine. As the car went up a hill, it began to slide backwards. “I knew I definitely made a mistake by getting into the car. I started to panic.”      

     Eventually, some people around the area came to help and pushed the car up the hill and the Ivaniks got home safely. Pavel thinks that if it were any other vehicle, maybe they would not have slid that much. Apparently their friend’s car was already untrustworthy. “She owned an old Mercury Cougar. I do not think that this car is meant for the winter. Her car had a history of swerving in the winter. So she had a heavy piece of metal in her trunk to balance things out,” Pavel said. 

     After her stressful day, Nadezhda decided it would be best to quit her job. “The winter stress and my pregnancy took a toll on me. I was worried that another bad snow or ice storm would hit and I did not want to walk in that weather again. I quit for the health and well-being of myself and the baby.” Her husband continued to work to provide for the family.

     This was the Ivaniks’ first winter experience in a different country. It was nothing like how it used to be back home in Kazakhstan. They learned some valuable lessons that day that they apply to themselves every winter. Even though they lived in a place that had snow, each place may have a different winter. It is good to be prepared for anything, even if you think you already know what to do. Nadezhda said, “It is better to stay home than risk your life out on the streets”.