Winterizing my Life

Bu0zNLiving through a Canadian winter changes everything you thought you knew about winter.

Trust me.

It’s fucked.

Not only have you never been so cold in your life, but you’ve also never felt like such a pussy about never having been so cold in your life. The first time the temperature dropped into the minus digits, I literally put on every piece of long covering clothing I possessed. I was more layered up than seven fruit roll ups and I was STILL shivering.

What did my Canadian boyfriend wear that day?

A t-shirt, jeans and a light jacket.

It was -5 degrees and I thought I was going to die. My skin ached in the exposed bits, and I was so cold I felt like my bone marrow was freezing. And then it went down to -15.

Now, people from further North, or Montreal, will tell you that -15 aint nothing to write home about. It’s when it gets to -30 that you got to start worrying.

MINUS….30 Degrees…CELSIUS…

Doesn’t the thermometer stop working at -20!? How is -30 a thing? How can we go negative times 30 of the freezing temperature of things??!

CANada Can.

I’ll never forget having a chat to the Mother of a friend of mine. Lovely Mrs Deck from Red Deer, Alberta, an all Canadian little place that looks a little something like this:

RedDeerCountyABHP

Mrs Deck is an avid running enthusiast, and when I began asking her if she continued to run outside during the winter she replied, “Oh yes. You have to wear a balaclava and gloves, but it certainly is nice to get oot and aboot.”

Okay fine she didn’t really say oot and aboot, she said it was nice to get OUTSIDE. But the point is the same. They’re nuts. The whole country.

And you start to become more nuts the more winter days you live through.

For example, last week when it was 1 degree, I asked myself, “do I really need a scarf?”

You start to think it’s normal to walk past huge piles of white (or dirty brown depending on how many days its been there) snow and not scream with delight and jump in it.

You think it’s normal to bring an extra pair of shoes with you to work (you know, snow shoes for the outside and nice clean dry shoes for the inside.)

It takes you 5 minutes to get up from a meal before you exit the establishment (because you have to put on hats, gloves, scarf, winter jacket…)

You minimize any and all walking outside unless it is strictly necessary and all activities move indoors.

When it’s above zero, you start referring to the weather as “warm”.

I’m not going to lie, I love the snow (always have always will) and after building two snowmen over the weekend, going sledding in a park, and having my very first snowball fight, I can safely say there are some perks to living in the “great white north”…

But I will never accept that -30 is a temperature in which humans are supposed to live.

Except Eskimo’s…

Those guys are CRAY

The Hole-eee-day Season

Ah Christmas! My favourite time of year. I am so into the holiday season that I have gone and neglected my (current) only creative outlet for ten whole days. Bad Me. I’ll punish myself by drinking the rest of this carton of Eggnog and eating that wheel of Camembert. I hope I’ve learned my lesson!

But seriously, there is something joyous about the gluttony of the season. The pretty lights. The present’s. The Christmas Tree. And of course the Carols. This year I had Michael Buble’s Christmas Special on repeat – which I thought was appropriate, his being Canadian and all, and this being my first Canadian Christmas.

I love the holiday so much that I ended up spending a fair chunk of change on the experience this year. It was my first 25th of December away from “Home” and so I don’t know if I was trying to recapture the childhood spirit of the season that my parents instilled in me, or if the Christmassy stuff was for my Christmas guests, mostly Jewish. I definitely wanted the boyfriend to get a sense of Christmas as it felt to me as a kid, lots of sparkly baubles about, Candy Canes, Ginger bread house (which he punched later in the evening as a way to break it for the guests…bloody knuckles aside it WAS pretty hilarious) and just a general Merry feeling. I think I pulled it off sufficiently well.

I was never really raised with religion in my home. I attended a Church of England school in Sydney (so I do know a number of the religious christmas songs + Christian prayers) for a few years, but the International schools which were responsible for the majority of my education were non-demoninal. So it is interesting to be amongst the Toronto Jewish Community (a vast presence here in my world), who have been nothing but accepting and welcoming. I have (sadly) been to a Shiva to pay my respects to a close friends late Grandfather, I have been to Rosh Hashana dinner, Hannakah dinners and Shabbat’s. So it was great to finally have a traditional thing from my childhood that I could share with my new friends.

We were definitely lacking in some of the finer Australian Christmas traditions (BBQ seafood lunch in the hot sunshine) or even more American style, Hong Kong Expat Christmas lunch, (Turkey or Ham with roast potatoes and pumpkin) and instead we kind of made an amalgamation (due to my hesitation to be in the kitchen all day). We had pigs in blankets (Z is from England and apparently that is what they eat there, mini-sausages wrapped in bacon – although ours were wrapped in pastry) Chicken with tomato spicy sauce, Roasted Asparagus with cheese and Roasted Potatoes with kosher salt and other secret ingredients. Boyf did all the cooking while I did the hosting/drink filling and despite the very random food and conversation, Santa did visit, and we did have a Merry time.

I hope next year, If I’m here next year, that it snows, and we do a proper Ham or Turkey.

But we’ll see! Maybe if I’m a very, very good girl and not quite so naughty….