As someone with a completely opposite experience in weather than the one we find in Canada (I have lived most of my life in the Caribean) I am a firm believer that in both cases (either extreme cold or heat), “there is no such thing as bad weather – only inadequate clothing.” This is why I think that preparation is key to the new experience Canada will give me this year… freezing temperatures and excessive amounts of snow.
Coming from winter temperatures that average around 25°C I have some serious work to do in order to re-define what winter means in my life today. Other than having the chance to buy an actual winter wardrobe what I mostly look forward to is trying out winter activities.
On the other hand, what I don’t look forward to is walking to class with -20°C (I really think I should start looking into other ways of transportation). I have already had to walk to the Exam Centre at around 7am with -1°C with fierce winds and freezing air that burned to breath. It didn’t get any better when I got home and told my Canadian room mates about how cold it is outside and they responded with “just wait until February.”
I believe that redefining my personal view on an entire season has powerful benefits relating to change and the way that I embrace this change. As students we tend to fall into routine fall too easily, traveling and studying in foreign countries has been my favourite way to step outside of this “comfort zone” and start completely new and unpredictable journeys.
One of my favorite things about moving to Canada is the opportunity to meet new people who have so much experience when it comes to the topic of winter, asking these “experts” for help and listening to their stories can be truly transformative and constructuve. For example, I had a friend tell me about the time she was in high school (not so long ago) and there was a snow storm and after school she realized she really wanted to eat poutine but had to walk there and so she set off on a journey with a powerful lesson: do not, by any means, walk into a snow storm with innapropriate shoes and expect to last a long time walking.
I am redefining what winter means by taking baby steps. Recently, I noticed I was the only one using an actual winter jacket when it was 13°C outside. It’s interesting to see how everyone around me is accustomed to the weather conditions, and I can’t wait to see how my body self-adjusts to the changing weather. When winter is over and it starts being 13°C again I bet I won’t need a jacket and instead be thankful that it is no longer below 0°C.
Other than layering and having a good winter jacket I think the best advice I found for redefining what winter means is to give your body enough time to process what is going on and to self-adjust. Even if the idea of -20°C in my head seems tedious and actually seems impossible (like seriously how? can it really get that cold?) it is important to keep a positive mentality and enjoy the conditions to try new things.