Monday, December 15, 2008
The Weather Outside is Frightful . . .
well at least if you are native to the Northwest (and pity those California transplants)! Yes it is a blustery 25 'F, (-4c -for all you Canucks) here in greater Portland area. And the locals are freezing!
Well actually so am I . . .
yes I grew up in Canada where we have snow for Halloween and sometimes for Easter too. Yes, I remember the wind-chill and Frostbite warnings on the morning news 'parents take care to bundle your kids up for the walk to school this morning - its a cold one at -29c but with the wind-chill feels more like -46c. Frostbite warnings at 2minutes this morning' (And that meant exposed skin is susceptible to frost bite at 2mins!) Yes, I remember leaving the house with hair damp from the shower and arriving at school (three blocks away) with frozen hair.
And yet as I have moved to warmer, milder climates (first the Okanogan and now the Northwest) I've adjusted, acclimatized or maybe my blood is just thinner!
Though it is not just my own wimpy-ness that makes me cold - The houses here are not built to stand this cold - poor insulation, thin windows, un-insulated garages (where the unwrapped water heater and furnace reside) Pipes in outside walls, crawlspaces open to the elements (so the houses can 'breathe'?) its just not your typical cuddle up warm of a Canadian home! There are limited (if any) snow plows, the schools just go ahead and shut down if there is more than an inch of snow accumulation. The news and weather stations sensationalize the 'Arctic Blast' to the point where even I begin to worry that although I learnt to drive on hockey-rink like conditions I may suddenly loss all my senses and crash into a tree.
Brings to mind how much I miss my homeland. How beautiful the snow can be. How much fun cross country skiing and ice skating and sledding can be. And I worry how much of their heritage my children are missing . . . of that great Canadian pride in surviving the extreme cold.
And then I remember starting the car 20mins before having to leave for anywhere (which was usually just enough time to scrape it off). Frostbitten cheeks, static-ky hair, tingling-burning toes, frozen pipes, power outages, black ice, household pets with half-ears, slip and falls and sliding into the ditch.
And I can put a name to this feeling - nostalgia. I miss winter. But then I ask myself - do I want to re-live it? Um, no... despite how much I loved it - I love it here too. Despite the lack of winter I feel at home. And every few years Canada remembers me and sends down a little 'blast' from my past!