Recuerdo Morco was 22 when he first saw snow. Wrapped in four layers of coveralls and parkas, he looked up into the swirling sky as huge flakes settled onto the deck of his cargo ship.
He carved his girlfriend’s name into the snow and circled it with a heart. Recuerdo had grown up in the Philippines on a tropical island rimmed with white sand and coconut palms. Standing on the cargo ship slicing through the icy waters near the Arctic Circle, snowflakes tickling his face, was a dream come true. “I’m really here,” he thought.
They pulled into the port of Kemi, Finland, in the wake of an icebreaker, jagged blocks of white peeling off the sides of their ship. Recuerdo stepped ashore and went on what he calls the “seaman’s mission”: find the nearest shop and buy a SIM card so you can call your mother.