The winter season is very beautiful. But the dangers that come with it are very real. People die every winter from car accidents due to black ice and hypothermia, among other reasons. Nadezhda and Pavel Ivanik remember their first Maine winter after immigrating from Kazakhstan. They learned that American winters are different from Kazakhstan winters.
In January 1999, there was a slight snowfall that turned into freezing rain during the night. By morning, the entire town of Portland was covered in solid ice. Nadezhda and her husband had recently immigrated to America in the summer of ‘98 and were adjusting to life in Maine. They did not have a car because Pavel did not have a license. So they had to walk 30 minutes to their job. “I had to be at work by 7:20 a.m. So my husband and I were always up by 6 a.m. because of the walk. I did not even look out the window. So when I went outside, I saw large icicles and how everything was covered. At first I was stunned by the beauty. But when I started walking, the awe turned into fear.” The streets had been covered in black ice.
Nadezhda was five months pregnant at the time and she was concerned she would fall and hurt the baby. Her husband had to hold her the entire journey to work. “I was basically gliding. I was not taking my feet off the ground. My husband was pulling me.” Pavel said that they were too poor to afford new shoes, including boots. So he was wearing sneakers. “Thankfully my shoes had a good grip, so I was not sliding as much. To be honest, I did not have as much fear as my wife did.” Pavel felt steady and secure in his shoes. “We were young at the time. If I fell, I would not get as hurt as I would now, at my age. I felt most concerned for my wife.”