My 5th Winter in ‘Peg

Photo by Von Cruz

Spring 2014 was suppose to start on March 21, 2014.  Sadly Old Man Winter wouldn’t give way, if you wake up in the morning and switch your TV to the Weather Channel, you’ll know that Winnipeg has a far from spring-like weather.

News whether on TV, radio or in print has been claiming that this has been the coldest winter in 64 years! Environment Canada says that it is the coldest December/January since 1949-1950.  Aside from being a very cold winter, Winnipeggers have also seen at least 50% more snow than normal this winter.

And for someone like me who came from a tropical country and have not experience snow on the first 30 years of my life, it is really TOUGH! Clearly it’ll still be weeks before Winnipeg sees the smiling flowers in its garden.

But we can only do so much – winter is winter! And one of the most prominent realities about living in Winnipeg is we are known for the cold weather that we have, that is why other Canadians know why we tell them that we are from “WINTER-peg.”

For the past 5 winters, I’ve learned to accept (though sometimes I still complain) that winter is a cold season and it is going to be that way every time.  No one can ever change that! So we have to cope with it. This year was a rough winter for us and we all know that it is a long winter as well.  But if there were something good that we Winnipeggers got out of this, I would say that it has made us stronger and it showed us what “resilience” is.  Come on, there’s nothing good that we will get from complaining, Old Man Winter will never listen, he will still do what he pleases!

Like what I said, it’s my 5th winter and I guess the experiences that I had with Old Man Winter allowed me learn how to deal with the challenges that he brings…Let me share with you the coping methods that you may use to beat Od Man Winter (for the next winter) –

KNOW THE WEATHER

Since we came to Canada, one of the habits that I have already adapted is to always know the weather. When I wake up each morning, the first thing that I do is to turn on the TV and tune it to the Weather Channel.  In that case you will know what to expect when you go outside.  Knowing the weather is part of a Canadian way of life. Know if it snowing, will it be colder in the afternoon than in the morning (and the likes)?  Do we expect more snow? What’s the wind chill forecast? Here in Canada, we are not just watching for the current temperature, we are more concerned about the wind chill (what it feels like), cause current temperature could be -39C but the wind chill could be as low as -42C.  And most Canadians would check the weather forecast for the following days, if you can check the weather forecast for the next 14 days, then the more prepared that you can be.

KNOW WHAT TO WEAR

When we started packing our things to prepare our big move here in Winnipeg, my cousin (who was my connection to Manitoba) reminded us that though it’s already spring, we may still find it cold when we arrive.  Knowing how low my tolerance for the cold is, my husband and I looked for warm jackets that we can bring with us.  Of course, it’ll be hard to find stores that sell winter jackets in the Philippines (at least during that time, I am not sure now) – we end up grabbing some from Ukay-Ukay (store selling used items, which I believe is somehow the same with thrift shops here in Winnipeg) – there we find real thick jackets and even Winter jackets, though we had to wash it three times and soak them in boiling water, we were able to use them for the first few weeks when the feels-like winter weather attacked.

Then my family bought some unknown brand of jackets and shoes, which worked for a while. But on the following winter, I learned to listen to my husband (I am cheap and there are times that I don’t really like buying expensive and branded stuff), we invested to warmer and good quality jackets, boots and other winter wear for ourselves and for our kids.

The past winter taught me that being warm is more important than fashion or looks… though it will be nice if you have both.  But once you wear your winter clothes and accessories everyone actually look the same… Canada had taught me that different clothes are worn in different occasions/seasons. I have learned when to wear winter jackets or thick jackets, a sweater only or a sweater and a jacket. I even learned the art of layering clothes and have now befriended “long johns,” (thermal underwear). Toque (we Filipinos will normally call it bonnet), scarves or neck warmers, earmuffs and gloves are also MUST HAVEs to help you fight the cold weather.

KNOW HOW TO AVOID WALKING IN THE COLD

YES, I am confirming it, even if the temperature goes down to -45C, there will still be work and school is not cancelled, you still need to get out of the house.   Therefore, aside from dressing properly make sure that you will not leave your self out in the cold for a long time.

It is not easy to move around in winter, if it is possible buy a car. The reason why my husband and I decided to first get a car (we got a used SUV) before getting a place to live is because of my job then, my shift starts at 5:00 in the morning so I have to leave the house at 4:30 in the morning. Public transit actually works, arrival of bus on the stops are usually every 15 to 20 minutes, they usually arrive on schedule but of course if you have the choice, you wouldn’t want to wait in the open even for a short time.  Plus you also have to consider the possibilities of missing your bus because you had a hard time walking in the slippery snow on your way to the bus stop.

Another option is to car-pool or find a friend/relative/co-workers who can pick you up and drop you off to and from your work and just share with the gas expenses.

KNOW THAT IT IS REALLY COLD ON WINTER

Even if you have not been to a place where they have winter season, you exactly know that winter is associated with snow and cold temperature.  Again, I will say that it is really tough, and this winter is even harder! But I now live in Winnipeg, this is where my home is, thus, I have accepted that coping up with the weather is part of our daily lives already.  Regardless if the wind chill goes down to -30C, -45C or -50C, it all end’s up to one result – IT IS REALLY COLD! And no matter how depressing it may be or how much you resist, there’s nothing that you can but to accept that winter has to come after fall and before spring.

It is not too bad, like what I said being resilient is the thing. Learn to assert dominance over it and you will soon find yourself learning to live with it.

Sources:  
winnipegsun.com (February 26, 2014): Winnipeg Experiences Third Coldest Winter in More than a Century.  Retrieved  March 15, 2014.
ctvnew.ca.  Winnipeg Sees Second Coldest Winter in 75 Years.  Retrieved March 15, 2014.
About Momsiecle 110 Articles

I am Cristina, I came from an Asian family turned Canadian. Momsie’s Blog is all about coming and living in Canada (and everything else).

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