AMHERST – Aws Alquaysi is in for a whole new experience this year. The Iraq native will be spending his first white winter in Amherst with his new wife, Laura Cowcill.
Alquaysi said although he’s excited for to spend his Christmas with his wife’s family, there were a few adjustments he needed to make.
“The weather in Iraq was very dry and cold in the winter,” he said. “It would get really cold there, around -5 or -6 degrees.”
Even with some experience with cold weather while living in the Middle East, Wednesday was Alquaysi first real experience with snow.
“We’ve seen a little bit of snow while travelling to and from Halifax,” explained his wife Cowcill whose parents reside in Amherst. “When it started to snow last night, we went out first thing to make a little snowman because we weren’t sure if there would be any snow left in the morning.”
Alquaysi said he was so excited for the white stuff to begin to pile up on the ground, that he spent most of the night in front of the window watching the flakes fall. He said he even thought about sleeping in the car just so he could see the snow.
“I loved it,” he said.
Cowcill said, although this will be Alguaysi’s first Canadian Christmas, the couple spent a Christmas together previously while they were working in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s summer there for 12 months, about 35 degrees,” Alquaysi explained. “I wanted to see something different. But I love this country and I love the people. I’m excited for Christmas.”
Since arriving in Amherst a month ago, Alquaysi has helped his mother and father-in-law decorate their home for Christmas and even went out to cut down his own Christmas tree. Now, with only a few days left until the big present opening extravaganza, Alquasi said he only has a few more things he wants to experience out of the Christian holiday.
“I’m waiting for the cold and more snow,” Alquaysi said. “I want to try driving in the snow. I’ve been watching some Youtube videos of winter car accidents to prepare. I also want to meet Santa.”
The newlyweds admitted the only thing stopping them from getting Alquaysi’s photo taken with Santa was a long line of children waiting to tell the Christmas patriarch their Christmas wishes.