First snow. Not just first snow of the season. First snow ever.
This is a picture of Sarah, a 15-year-old who has recently come into my life (as if working at a school didn't provide enough teenagers!). Let me tell you just a little bit about her.
It started summer-before-last when my sister Bonnie and a young friend of hers, Rose, spent three weeks in Ghana, teaching creative writing at the Heritage Academy. It was a life-changing experience for both. And for another, as it happens.
Upon returning home, Rose, who is presently a senior in high school, asked her parents if they might help Sarah, who had just finished eighth grade in Ghana, come to the United States for high school. Her parents agreed, and so a year of anticipation and preparation began.
A scant month ago Sarah arrived, alone, on an airplane for the first time in her life, from her village in very rural Ghana, at JFK airport. She's now living with Rose and her family, and Bonnie is her new grandmother (which I hope makes me her new aunt). She's attending a local parochial school and already doing very well. She's learning about the joys of marching band (her new family has three members as participants this year) and shoe stores and squirrels and all kinds of things unknown to Ghanaians. She's 15, finding out about homesickness, and has one of the best smiles I've ever seen. And she likes spaghetti and meatballs.
While the kids at my school were ga-ga with glee when the unseasonable huge, floppy snowflakes came tumbling down yesterday, none of them knew the joy that Sarah did. For it was the first snow of her entire life.