A typical winter conversation with my mom. So what’s the temperature? Well today it was 0 (or 32, which is what I actually tell her), so not too bad. “32? brrr, well it was 80 (30 degrees celsius) here today. It’s so hot, I’m sweating.” ::mimes shooting myself:: It’s not that winter in Poland is a tragedy. The past few winters have been really rather mild and I can’t complain too much. But then again, I can because I’m a Floridian. It’s my right.
Winter in general is an enigma to us. We have no idea what it’s like. The terror in my parents’ eyes when I tell them that it has snowed or that it’s lower in 10 degrees is sweet and slightly amusing. Bless them. My mom told me to keep a blanket in my car in case my car breaks down so I can cover myself. You know, just in case I’m stuck alone in the wasteland with no hope for survival. The blanket will keep me alive. In fact, it’s not a bad idea. I can bundle up when I get in the car in the morning.
When recently the words “Oh, it’s only -2 today, so it’s warm” first came out of my mouth I was flabbergasted. Have I gotten used to winter?
Imagine it this way. When you live in Florida, you own a jacket or two. Some sweaters but nothing made of wool of course. You probably own one coat for a couple of reasons. 1. in hopes that it will be cold enough a couple days out of the year to actually wear it without looking ridiculous 2. when you go on trips to places that actually have winter. The really funny thing about Floridians is though that they’re so stubborn about putting on an actual jacket or coat. You see people when it’s actually cold, so like 10 degrees C (50F), in like t-shirts and flip flops with socks. It’s completely nonsensical. I half think it’s because either they left the house without checking the temperature (because that’s a thing you can do most of the time in Florida) or they’re afraid of wearing a jacket because they’ll look silly. And you have to know that you feel all temperatures much more in Florida than you do in Poland. A little thing called humidity makes you feel that temperature much more so it’s feels colder than it really is. Masakra, as they say.
Not to mention, Florida is sunny most of the year with Orlando having an average of 240 full sunny days per year. It’s hard to get un-used to that. Apparently in Poland there are only 70… tragedia.Typically I have a small crisis around the beginning of January but this winter has had a decent amount of sun and I’ve been exercising regularly, which helps tremendously. I’ve also found that practicing a winter sport, like snowboarding, which I picked up last year, makes you happier about winter and more likely to enjoy it.
Everyone thinks winter is Poland is like a Siberian winter on crack so they’re like OMG how are you surviving and I’m like I’m fine. Spokojnie. Our winters are lighter than in the northern U.S. There they had -40 temperatures last year. But the recent minus temperatures here have allowed me to wear the jacket that I purchased before moving to Poland, so before I knew what winter actually looks like. It’s a bit of an embarrassment for both me and my husband because it’s like wearing a sleeping bag. It’s called the North Face Arctic jacket and the Arctic is probably the only place you really need that thing.
Also, you don’t have proper winter shoes. Floridians want to wear boots so they can be cool like everyone else. So people have them and they wear them and they probably sweat bullets in them. I had some boots when I moved to Poland. They were brown leather and they had completely bare soles. Zero grip. I wore them on the plane on the way here and I thought they’d be sufficient. I mean they were boots, come on. So when I walked onto the ice outside the airport the day I arrived, I realized that there’s a difference between boots which you wear in Florida and boots which you wear in Poland.
Anyway, like I said, the cold I can handle. I drive most places anyway so it’s really nothing. But driving, well that’s a totally different ball game, man. Firstly, you have to change your tires. Never really thought about the fact that winter tires exist. Who knew? So, ok, fine, I can get my tires changed. Whatever, no biggie. But I have to wipe the snow and scrape the ice off my windshield at 6:30 am? Screw that. There’s no worse realization then when you go downstairs with no time to spare and you realize you have to clear the fucking car of snow. ::mimes shooting myself again:: I can’t. Thank god for that spray, which I only discovered this year, that makes the ice disappear instantaneously. Best 5 zł ever spent.
All in all, winter is pretty nice. My imagination was bigger than reality, as per usual. Plus you get spring and autumn thrown in there so it’s totally worth it.