Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's cold!


My first winter in Pumpkin City, I was amazed at how cold it was, and I was amazed that I felt cold. I'd grown up in the American Midwest, where when people said it was below zero, they meant -18C, and it got that cold on a fairly regular basis.

Of course, most homes in that area were and are centrally heated. You leave your centrally heated home in your car that sits in your heated garage to an enclosed parking space and walk to your centrally heated workplace/ school. I still get incredulous looks when I say that swimming in PE class happened in the winter months. Of course it happened in the winter months, the school swimming pool was heated and going outside in the snow for field sports didn't really happen (though, I think, if they had decided to do so, they could have offered something like Nordic skiing).

Here, the centrally heated Pumpkin Palace is the exception and not the rule. My parents' house uses an arsenal of electric, gas and kerosene space heaters. Bedtime protocol calls for a long, hot bath, and a mad dash to brush teeth and dry hair so that you can get under the layers and layers of blankets and comforters before your body has time to get cold. My parents have a thermometer sitting in the toilet room (I'm not sure what to call that room, it's not the bathroom because the bathtub is in the room next to it). Yesterday it read 9C, which is about 48F.

When I lived there, saying it was hard to get up in the morning would be an understatement, but after we did, we trekked to school (either on foot or bicycle, no school busses, can't make it easy on the kids, can you) where the kerosene space heater for the classroom may or may not be operational. My first year back in Japan, my homeroom teacher announced that our class would not be using the kerosene heater until January because the cold would help our concentration, and I kept thinking, um, I want to go to university and study natural sciences, NOT BECOME A JEDI KNIGHT. I'd always come home with blue lips from entry level hypothermia (to a non-centrally heated house!). High school and university weren't much different. Fortunately, my workplace has fairly good climate control, and now I live in the Pumpkin Palace, so I don't really worry about the cold anymore.

Unless I go outside. It was 2C (36F) this morning. Gosh, it was cold! :P

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