The first snow

In October 2018, I caught a really bad cold. With the outside temperature quickly dropping and my student life at university getting busier as the Fall semester reached its turning point, I didn’t take a good care of myself. One morning, I woke up with sore throat, high fever and no voice.

As I got out of bed, I realized the seriousness of the situation – due to the high fever, I couldn’t even walk straight. The discomfort in my body was so much that even the kitchen downstairs felt like miles away.

“I need to go and see a doctor,” I thought in my dizzy head. But given the situation, I wasn’t confident if I could take the public transport to get there without fainting on the way. So, I asked my then new housemates to accompany me to the campus doctor. Since my voice was gone, I wrote down my message on a piece of paper and showed it to them.

“Please come with me to see a doctor.”

My housemates were shocked to see my situation, and one of them, who happened to be available that morning, immediately packed her bag to take me to the campus doctor.

Sitting on the bus with my housemate, voiceless and feeling completely weak, I felt like a little girl sitting next to her mother. Since I was not at all in a condition to proactively do anything, once at the hospital, my housemate did everything from checking in at the reception desk to talking with the doctor about my condition.

Despite my dramatic fever symptom, the doctor told us that there was nothing to worry about and that it was just a regular flu. She advised me to take one of the well-known over counter cold medications, and that was it.

As we left the campus hospital, my housemate said that we should buy some fruits so that I could eat them at home. She had recently arrived from India and didn’t yet know well what kinds of stores were available here in Canada. Holding my hand, she walked around the campus, asking whoever came across our way the same question.

“Excuse me, where can we find a fruit shop?”

Coming from Japan, I knew exactly what kind of shop she was talking about. In Japan, too, there are many street shops selling only fruits. That’s what a fruit shop is.

But in Ottawa, a fruit shop is a foreign concept. Fruits can be found only at a grocery store. I was too weak to explain all that to her, but finally somebody on campus told us that there was no such thing as a fruit shop, but we could go to the grocery store in the large shopping complex nearby.

Right after that encounter, we came out of the student union building planning to take a bus to get to the shopping complex, when something white fell from the sky. At first, it felt like a mistake. But then, more fell from the sky, dancing in the wind. My housemate and I looked at each other in surprise.


There was a sparkle of excitement in my housemate’s eyes. Even I was delighted to see the first snow of the year and forgot about my bodily discomfort for a second.

“It’s snowing, it’s snowing!”

Looking up at the sky, we both marvelled at the magical dance of the snowflakes, our eyes shiny from excitement like those of little girls.

Later, we went to the shopping complex, and my housemate bought some fruits from the grocery store while I waited at the bench near the entrance.

That small adventure left me a special impression, and each year when the grey sky of autumn starts, I think about that day. How my housemate lent me her caring hand when I was hit by the flu, and how we were both delighted by the surprise first snowflake of the year.