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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Igloos, Bolivians and the Polar Vortex

As many of you know, there's been a Polar Vortex hitting North America and the temperatures in Evanston, IL, have been as low as 42 degrees below zero in the last couple of days. In fact the temperature was below zero for 37 hours straight, hence the name Chiberia.

I'd been in a mild (to say the least) panic for several days leading up to the pending frozen doom and happlily accepted an invite to make empanadas and drink wine on Sunday with friends from Bolivia who happen to celebrate every single moment of life, regardless of the temperature.

Upon arriving at our Bolivian friend's home we made and ate lots of empanadas and drank wine, escaping the cold until Sergio (the lead Bolivian) invited us out into the yard to help with the igloo. They had a friend from South America who celebrated the blizzard several years back with a train of igloos in her yard and they were excited to build an igloo too. We all went outside and took turns scraping out the inside of a huge snow mound, creating quite a lovely and big igloo, waiting in line patiently as each person did their part scraping. It was so fun and I managed to calm down with the manual labor of our project.

The next day schools and businesses closed across Chicagoland, leaving me and my family home inside our warm houses with temperatures outside as low at 42 degrees below zero. As I sat in the living room looking out at all the snow I thought to myself "why not be like our friends from Bolivia and go make some igloos?"

We started with one igloo in the backyard, pictured below, which we decorated with colored blue water. Then we moved on to the front yard where we built two more igloos with a tunnel connecting them. We could only stay outside for 15 minutes at a time, for fear of frostbite.

None of us would have ventured into the cold to build igloos had it not been for our inventive friends from Bolivia. I"m so grateful to Sergio and Paola for teaching us to enjoy every moment in our new lives; sometimes it takes new eyes to help you see the glory of your environment.

It's been crazy living in a Polar Vortex these past few days but it's been fun and I'm so happy to have a yard with light and fluffy snow we can turn into igloos and new friends from Bolivia who are teaching us how to live with vigor, no matter the zip code!


Thank you for reading my blog Evanston Newbie, a blog dedicated to helping you too fall in love with the City of Evanston, just like I did. If you have any questions or need to get in touch with me about this blog, Evanston, or anything else you can email me at Also feel free to send me announcements about upcoming Evanston events and I will promote them here!

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