Although Croatia has a similar climate to that of New England’s, it typically receives less snow. I haven't been here during a major snowstorm so I haven't had the chance to compare snowfall (and the reaction to it) in Croatia to the hysteria I experienced in New England.
So when it began snowing the other day I started asking questions. How long is it going to snow? How much will we get? What roads should I avoid? Will there be any cancellations or delays?
It just goes to show that I've been programmed by local news stations in America (or is it maybe just the Boston area?) to ask questions. The sort of questions only "Breaking News" coverage can answer. The sort of questions only meteorologists with snow covered jackets and wind torn hair backed by the waves of Cape Cod can satisfy. The sort of questions that will promote worry, stress and excitement that keep us glued to our television sets or computer screens.
When I got home on Monday after surviving the snowy roads I switched on the TV. But I did not find a list of cancellations scrolling along the bottom of the screen. There were no advertisements advising me to stay tuned to find out the latest. In fact there was no mention of the snowfall whatsoever until the news came on. Even then the Italian Prime minister took the prime spot.
Only after bloody Berlusconi did they mentioned the snow. Yes, we had some snow. Yes, it's possible it'll continue...for the rest of the week. And that was it. No predictions as to how much. No cancellations. No advisories. No excitement.
Here in Croatia- and especially outside the cities - most lives are much more localized. You work fairly close to where you live. The store is within walking distance. School busses don't arrive to the school en masse like they do in America. If someone can't make it somewhere then they just won't go. But that doesn't mean that no one should go.
Even more importantly, there's not an obsession with "breaking news", "the latest update" or "developing stories". The evening news reports to us what happened and then it ends. They don't give us advice. They don't demand our attention. They just give us the news. Then it's over.
So for a person in whom predictability and planning circulate the bloodstream like caffeine, it can be frustrating. When is this stuff going to stop falling? Have they cleared the roads there, because they certainly haven't plowed here? What am I supposed to do?
Then I remember I’m in Eastern Europe. Planning goes out the window. But so does the media madness that surrounds snowfall. Maybe it’s better that way. Though it will take some getting used to.