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A Hawaii native's first Long Island snowstorm

Kimberly Yuen poses atop a large mound of

Kimberly Yuen poses atop a large mound of snow outside Newsday's headquarters in Melville on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Credit: Arnold Miller/ Newsday

“WHY did you leave Hawaii?”

That’s the question I’ve been asked most since I moved to Long Island three weeks ago.

My answer would typically be something like: “I got a job at Newsday, and I’ve been in Hawaii for most of my life, so, I mean, why not?”

Yes, I knew it would be in the middle of winter. Yes, I knew it would be snowing. Yes, I knew it would be cold.

Trust me, I’ve gotten a lot of those “reminders” before I left.

But “just remember that winter will end eventually,” was another reminder I got from a former co-worker in Hawaii (who also happens to be a former Newsday employee).

I think learning to drive in the snow was my biggest apprehension of the whole move. I just didn’t know how to. Everyone I asked for tips gave me helpful advice: drive slow, give lots of distance between you and other cars, always have an ice scraper and shovel in your trunk (and cat box filler?) don’t brake too hard, put up your windshield wipers, drive a Subaru, park backward in your driveway, park close to the edge of the driveway so you don’t have to shovel a lot, etc.

When it was announced that a huge snowstorm would come Thursday, bringing as much as 18 inches of snow to Long Island, I was definitely nervous.

OK, I can do this, I thought.

I live 15 minutes away, I can do this.

I have a Subaru, I can do this.

I woke up around 10 a.m. and took a peek outside. All I saw was white. The door wouldn’t even open all the way because it got stuck in snow. White, cold, icy things were flying around. What is this!? The roads that were once there, were now all white. I’ve seen pictures from my mainland friends of snowstorms (and usually just responded with a photo of the beach) but to see it in person was a bit eye-opening.

I walked around my house and the snow was already inches deep. Whoa! 

I thought about going into my car and getting the snow brush out and starting to brush. But if I start brushing, wouldn’t it just build up all over again? Would that be a wasted effort? Do I really want my first time driving in snow to be in the midst of a snowstorm? Do I want to start shoveling? Where do I even shovel the snow to? Do I really want to chance this? I figured I’d rather err on the safe side.

So, I called an Uber.

The driver showed up in a Toyota Highlander within five minutes. And it took him exactly 16 minutes and 29 seconds to shuttle me the 5.07 miles to Newsday’s headquarters in Melville.

And that's the story of my first snowstorm.

Maybe next time I’ll muster up the courage to drive in the snow.

And maybe, hopefully, that won’t be until next winter.

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