And I was all "Oh hahaha don't be ridiculous! How bad can it be? People live there and they're perfectly fine.".
I pictured cozy nights in front of a roaring fireplace, gazing out at the snowstorm from inside, hot chocolate in hand, cashmere throw over my legs. I pictured wool scarves and mittens and fur trimmed vests on a ski hill and dog-sled rides in the moonlight.
So maybe the dog-sled rides were a bit too far, but whatever. It was going to be fine, just fine.
The first winter here, I was in for a shock. One morning in October I stepped outside and straight into a foot of snow (more than England typically sees in a whole year). It was like someone had gone overboard with the white foam spray on the entire world.
By January, temperatures had dipped to horrific proportions of somewhere in the minus twenty- to thirty-degree range. We'd recently adopted our dog, Bongo, and I was determined to continue with our daily dog walks, so I traipsed out into the dog park, naively wearing my jeans and trainers and semi-winter coat. And almost died of frost bite and hypothermia and other cold diseases.
Finally someone showed me the ways of the arctic people: I was introduced to Sorrel snow shoes and goose down coats and, to my horror, long johns. Yes, long johns, under everything. Sexy, slinky long johns that cling so tight they make your legs itch like a bastard.
I quickly discovered that small things like nose hairs freezing within seconds of being outside and fingers turning blue from cold were just, you know, normal every day occurrences. Not things to worry, complain, or throw tantrums about, according to Calgary folk. Around this neck of the woods, you get on with it. Never mind the cold, the snow, the frozen nose hairs and the fingers almost gangrenous from frost bite.
My parents came out to Calgary to visit, the year after I moved here, during the coldest of the winter months. And basically, they were horrified. I tried to put on a brave face and show them "Ha, see, I can do this! This? Snow? This is nothing. I will even wear my flip flops because I am a tough Canadian now!" And then I quietly locked myself in the bathroom and wept, remembering how manageable the English winters really were.
Me with my husband and father, seven months after moving to Calgary,
showing how magnificent! the snow really was (Lake Louise).
For me, one of the worst things about the snow was the driving. Even with winter tires, I was sliding around like a deer on ice, terrified of crashing into other motorists or veering into bus shelters. But, not to be put off, I enrolled myself on a winter driving course and learned the proper way to handle winter driving conditions. And things really started to look up when they let me drive out on an ice field and do a handbreak turn. Awesomeness.
After a few years I got used to the snow, kind of, and things were relatively normal again.
Until I had kids.
And then it wasn't the driving that I dreaded, nor was it the fear of freezing my face off, but the fear of going out with the kids, in the minus-ridiculousness temperatures.
Because, as anyone with young kids will attest, preparing for an outing with little ones during winter is about as simple as strapping a zebra and four goats to an elephant.
First there are the snow pants, which go over the regular pants, then the coats, then the hats, the mittens, the boots. Did I leave anything out? And after all the dressing is done, there's hardly a child left to be seen under all the layers.
But, like I said, I'm tough to this now. Right? And I shall not be deterred by a little snow. I shall go forth and brave the cold, carry on with my life as normal, I shall not transfer my hatred of winter to my sons. I shall find the bright side to this cold, slushy nightmare.
Insert smiley face here.
How about you? How do you cope with bitterly cold temperatures?
People from places like Florida need not reply. Seriously, if you still want to be friends.