Far from Home: Erie's first snowfall leaves lasting impression on Kuwait native

November 18, 2014

Editor's note: Far from Home is an occasional series in which we document a year in the life of international students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

“Beep-beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep-beep!”

When Craig Miranda’s alarm sounded at 6 a.m. last Thursday, he awoke overcome with excitement. His friends told him it was coming, but some things need to be seen to be believed.

“I was skeptical,” said Miranda, a freshman computer science major at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. “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 just 24 hours. In Kuwait, summer temperatures can exceed 120 degrees; even in winter, average daytime temperatures rarely fall below 60 degrees.

Miranda said 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 said. “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. Erie received 12.6 inches of snow that day, the earliest snowfall of such magnitude for the region.

It might have been a burden for others who were driving or walking across campus, but Miranda appreciated 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 said. “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.

“I’ve always pictured Christmas as caroling with snow falling from the sky, but I’ve never seen it until now,” he said.

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 the white stuff, earning the honor of America’s snowiest city.

His friends have warned him that he might eventually tire of it, but he’s not buying that.

“I doubt I’ll ever get bored with snow,” Miranda said. “Coming from Kuwait, where it barely ever even rains, it is just marvelous.”

  • During the snowstorm, Craig Miranda Skyped with his parents back home, so they could get a closer glimpse of what they were missing.

    During the snowstorm that hit the Erie region on Nov. 13, Craig Miranda Skyped with his parents, who were back in his native country of Kuwait. He took them on a tour across campus, so they could see what they were missing out on.

    IMAGE: Penn State Behrend

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Last Updated November 19, 2014