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Arizona dreaming

Tim Kaiser | Wednesday, December 7, 2005

No matter how many papers I have to write, no matter how many finals I have to study for, there’s just one thing I can’t stop thinking about: the Fiesta Bowl. But it’s for a different reason than one might think. Despite being the overzealous football fanatic that I am, it’s not the dream matchup between the Irish and the Buckeyes that I’m salivating over, nor is it the delicious tortilla chips that will most certainly be advertised during the event. The reason I’ll be certain to pick up a lottery number today is because the game will be played in toasty warm Tempe, Ariz.

This is my first Midwestern winter, and while I thought I would be prepared for it, it has still come as a shock to me. What surprised me most was how quickly it came. It was comfortable and mild throughout October, and I figured all that I’d heard about how cold and depressing South Bend was must have been an exaggeration, but sure enough, after waking up at 7:57 a.m. for an 8 a.m. test one morning in mid-November, I realized, while sprinting across south quad in a T-shirt, that everything was covered in snow. Now, just a year ago, that amount of snowfall would have equated to a day off from school for me, but, alas, Notre Dame is not really a commuter campus. So I plodded slowly back to the dorm to get ready for my first class, thinking that I’d never get to experience the pure elation of a snow day again. Sure enough, I was fortunate to check my e-mail before heading out again and found that my first class had been cancelled because my professor’s wife had gone into labor that morning, which after a quick congratulatory reply, I was free to relax and enjoy the morning’s winter scenery.

But I have found that this round of snow, accompanied by blistering cold and gale-force winds, isn’t so quaint and enjoyable as the first time.

No other time have I been so thankful for my dorm’s close proximity to South Dining Hall, and the occasional excursions to North I took this fall have been ruled out. Many trips to the library have been forsaken. And don’t expect me to call you back: I don’t get cell phone service in my dorm room and I sure as hell am not going outside.

Last week a friend entertained me with the tale of his older brother, who after walking against the wind, arrived at class unaware that he had lines of snot frozen to the sides of his face. Just yesterday on the way to breakfast, I avoided this fate when one of my nostrils literally froze closed before anything my nose could run.

So while I’ll likely be waiting for a few hours in the cold today to get my lottery number, I’ll be facing the frigid temperature by thinking of football, salsa and Arizona. And even if we go home for break to a place where it isn’t much warmer in January, we can at least go to sleep with visions of Tempe and nachos dancing in our heads.