With the cold-snap in full swing, I figure now is the best time of any to come clean. I know it make shock some of you, but here’s goes.
I am a winter person.
Yes. That’s right. The colder the better.* To me, few things can rival sitting all curled up reading a book, looking outside and seeing huge, fluffy white flakes slowly drift down past your window. I love that feeling in your cheeks, all rosy and tingly, after coming in from the cold. I love wearing coats, scarves, toques** boots, mitts… you get the picture. To me, nothing beats a clear, bright sunny winter morning, fresh and white. So crisp!
I love winter activities too, not just accessories. While at home, I took full advantage of skating outside, on our frozen river. Tobogganed at our cottage while cooking over an open fire. Made a quinzy (essentially a snow fort) in our backyard. The list goes on.
Now, being a winter person, one often comes up against some critics. I know many people, including many Canadians, who absolutely hate the winter. I even try to hide my adoration for wintertime. Sure, it’s acceptable around Christmas, but after about January 3rd, winter-loathing becomes almost a national sport. To my critics I say a plain, straight, simple: “WHATEVER, MAN.” I know my niche and I’m sticking to it.
Being a winter lover also comes with a certain amount of snobbery. Growing up on the prairies where an average winter day in Winnipeg can get – with the windchill – down to -40 degrees Celsius… (to my American readers, that equals roughly -40 degrees Fahrenheit). I’m hearty. I often brag to my other Canadian friends, not from Manitoba, about how I live through a real winter. I relish being able to scoff when reading the news and the BBC says it’s going to “plummet to -8”. Ha!
Funny anecdote: I had a couple Canadian friends from Undergrad running a pub in Essex this past Michaelmas term. In early December, they told me that half of their reservations cancelled due to merely the threat of snow. And that one of their servers was 2 hours late because it snowed half an inch. (She lived five blocks from the pub)…
When I was first getting to know my classmates, I mentioned I was from Canada. One of my classmates asked about the cold and the snow, and being from Ireland, was shocked to learn what a ‘windchill’ was. (Basically, the wind gets so cold that it can literally freeze your skin in less than ten minutes exposure).
All this being said, I have a second confession. I hate the winter here. Absolutely despise it. It’s gray (where my winter is sunny). It’s damp (where mine is dry). It’s foggy, and dreary, and rainy, and lumpy, and just plain cold. Bones are chilled going outside. I’m OK with cold on the surface, but what the garbage, this dampness sucks! So, after seeing the news about rail closures, people freaking out about a measly 30 cm of snow, you know what, I get it. I feel the collective pain of living in a maritime climate where you know what? Winter does suck.
So for those of you potential international students thinking you can beat the weather in the UK, you can’t. It will just slowly whittle away at any love you had for the season called winter…
And that’s coming from a winter person.
*Within reason, of course. No windchill thank you.
** I’ve learned from my non-Canadian cohorts that apparently no one in the world but Canadians use the word toque… Essentially it’s a winter hat or a beanie I guess. Normally knitted. Sometimes with a pom-pom. Mostly they’re knitted by your grandma and are a little too big, but you love them all the same. Mine, for instance is royal blue with a pompom so big my gram still worries if it will ‘fall off’ – she made this five years ago… See relevant NHL sports team version here.