As my grandmother would say. Except, she wouldn’t, because she never feels the cold. I, on the other hand, take after my mother, who would wear a sleeping bag from October through April if she could. And that’s in Nashville, which really isn’t very cold!
I have my reasons. First, heredity (see above). Second, I am hypothyroid. Symptoms of which include:
Increased sensitivity to cold temperature.
So, I’m not imagining this, and just shut up, OK?
I know it happens ever year, but I am never entirely ready for fall. Especially in a moving year, when I’ve had so much going on (and three or four different climates) in a compressed span of time. Spring didn’t even really start until April in Vienna, after all. I feel somehow cheated. Where did summer go? It was such a nice one, too.
A couple of weeks ago, we had our first cold snap in DC. Immediately, my whole body tensed up. My neck got stiff. I started getting these weird pains in my shoulders. Unsurprisingly, this made me cranky.
Oh, who am I kidding. The cold made me cranky!
Workouts and walks in the sun do help, but they only go so far. So, once again, I reached for the Zoloft.
Now, a few days later, I feel better. Thank heaven for modern pharmacology. Winter is now bearable. But I don’t have to like it.
Take the clothes. I hate them. I basically grew up in cut-offs and flip-flops. I like to be comfortable. In winter clothes, I usually feel like a sausage.
Plus, it’s really difficult to find jeans that fit well the last few years. And with long johns underneath? Forget it!
Our first winter in Prague, we all froze because I had no idea what real winter gear looked like. I had never lived north of Washington, DC, except for a year in the UK, and that doesn’t count because they have weird weather for their latitude. I had never been skiing. I had never owned a pair of real snow boots, and certainly never lived anywhere that snow pants were required for school!
So we shivered in jeans, cheap snow boots and midweight Land’s End jackets. Well, my husband didn’t shiver, because he doesn’t feel the cold. He’s Polish, doncha know. But the rest of us sure did, especially when we traveled to the Tirol in January. If it weren’t for lashings of hot chocolate, we’d never have made it through that trip.
By the time we left Prague, we all had a full complement of real winter gear. By the time we left Vienna, I had several down coats, expensive snow boots, silk long johns, and an array of hand-knitted hats and scarves. I therefore had a much better attitude, which is why I signed off on the Warsaw bid. (Also, if weather is the hardest thing about a Foreign Service post, then it really isn’t all that hard. I do know that.)
Some people like winter because it is “cozy.” Sometimes, and with appropriate apparel and refreshments, it is. A good Christmas market, for example, goes a long way. Mulled wine and bratwurst will cure whatever ails you. But it is a transient thing. (Or at least it should be, if you don’t want to end up fat and alcoholic!)
Mostly, winter is just cold and dark. And yes, I know we are moving to a cold, dark place. But it’s our third cold, dark post, so I have a plan.
From now until wheels-up, if it’s warm and cute, I’m buying it. I get sweaters, jackets, hats, boots, whatever it takes and whatever it costs. That, along with a trip to either 1.) Italy 2.) Spain or 3.) California every February.
I feel warmer already! Besides, it could be worse. I could be posted with Donna in Moscow. A high of 23 and it isn’t even November yet? Just shoot me.