On Friday I cycled down to the grocery store. I took the usual: my purse, my own bags and my bottles to recycle.
What I did not bring was gloves.
Some people love the cold; the fresh air, the ‘gezellig’ cozy feeling inside, warm soups, all that jazz. I however cannot stand the cold and as an Australian, feel like a European winter is akin to torture.
For some bizarre reason, I’ve done a lot of travelling in the colder months. I’ve been snowed in whilst in Nanjing, was on the last flight into Amsterdam before they closed down the airport due to snow and have survived two Chinese New Years with my teeth chattering. I have a terrible case of cold feet syndrome, and would use my hairdryer to warm up my feet before getting into bed last year in China. It didn’t work.
But seriously, I hate the winter. If not for the footy season being held throughout the Australian winter, I would happily chase summers on the two hemispheres. I like snow only for about a thirty-six hour window; when it’s just been laid, and before cars and dirty boots have run all over it. Then it just resembles cookies ‘n cream ice cream, and not in a good way.
If the freezing temperatures weren’t enough, it’s also dark. Daylight savings time ended yesterday, meaning that it’s dark at five o’clock. If it’s been cloudy and grey all day, it feels like Mother Nature has just chucked a sickie.
(By the way, what happened to that plan to have all EU countries convert to daylight savings time permanently? I mean, don’t we rush home and turn on the lights a lot earlier than in summer anyway?)
So what is my plan for the European winter? Well, I’m planning on escaping it in January for a few weeks in the form of the Thai and Vietnamese sun. Knowing that I’ll see temperatures above ten in two months’ time is a lot better than longing for April.
So, if you’re reading this near the Equator or in the Southern Hemisphere (or hell, even anywhere south of here) please spare a thought for me. When you’re sitting in a beer garden with the sun streaming through, think of me heating hot chocolate on the stove. Think of my lengthy dressing ritual including thermals, layers, scarves, Michelin Man jackets and mittens. Think of me inevitably slipping on snow’s ugly cousin, ice, preferably not on a bike.
I suppose you might laugh and pat yourself on the back for your good fortune. Truthfully, that’s what I would probably do; actually, that’s what I’ve been doing all European summer.