Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm cold and it's not even snowing

I hate being cold; and I know what it's like to be cold, too. I remember when my family moved to Alberta, in December of all months; and I remember how excited I was to have snow that actually stuck to the ground. The excitement, however, wore off all too quickly.

When it is so cold that the snowbanks freeze and you can stand on top of them; and the wind picks up dry snow and whips it in your face like sand; and the minute you walk outside you can feel your constantly running nose stop dripping because it has frozen instead, well, then it's too cold to do anything fun.

Making snow angels and building snowmen don't sound appealing. Snowball fights and snow forts don't even cross your mind. Sledding and ice skating are absolute no-gos.

Recess, once my favorite subject in school, became my least favorite time of the day. I hated bundling up to go outside. Sweaters, coats, snow pants, long johns, extra socks, boots, gloves, mittens, scarves, tuques; I wore it all. And I could hardly move. And I hated it. Recess just wasn't fun anymore. We were supposed to have inside days if the temperature dropped too far below -20°C (-4°F). The problem was they, meaning the school district, never seemed to the wind chill factor into account. I spent many recesses jumping up and down behind huge snowballs that we'd roll to block the wind just so we could keep warm.

I don't think I ever warmed up after that first winter in Alberta. Want evidence?

My favorite place to eat ice cream is at home so that I can sit on the heater vent with my legs pulled up inside an oversized T-shirt. Need more?

I moved to Russia when I was 18, much to the shock my mother, to teach English. Russia is obviously cold, and although I hate the cold I am no stranger to it and knew I could handle it. I went with a group of girls, several of whom were from Arizona. The first week we got there they were thrilled about the snow and asked me to join them outside to build a snowman and throw snowballs. I refused and when they asked why I told them that they would see. Soon they all learned to hate the snow as much as I. Why? Because it's cold and cold is awful.

I now live in Cairo, Egypt. Today it was over 20°C (about 70°F) and I am freezing. If I lived in Alberta this would be the equivalent of a beautiful early summer day. But out here? It's cold. I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt and a fleece jacket. And I can't get enough hot apple cider. And I'm cold. My nose is cold and my toes are cold and I have goosebumps on my arms.

Perhaps I should turn on the heater. But that silly Canadian inside of me keeps telling me to suck it up, that I should be enjoying this weather in shorts and a t-shirt, not snuggled up on the couch with a blanket and book. I suppose I'll need these "cold" memories to battle the upcoming summer. At least it's not snowing.

***Written, a little apprehensively, for Scribbit at Andrew's behest. I'm always a little nervous to write "on topic."


  1. Hmmm. Maybe we need to swap bodies? I love the cold. But I also weigh about 200 pounds more than you do. So perhaps if we swap bodies you will like the cold. :)

  2. It's all a matter of acclimatization... when the temperature drops to ten in the fall, it's time for sweaters, coats, I start buying winter boots and the gloves come out. When it hits ten in the spring, the jackets come off, the winter stuff gets put away and I'm looking at buying shorts.
    Definitely has to do with acclimatizing.

  3. I love this--and if I can gush a bit I love your layout and design too.

    Maybe it's the fellow cold-weather sufferer in me but loved your post! :)