Finding Joy in the Snow

Let me start off by saying that it’s not only hot blooded people who have trouble adjusting to winter. Lots of Canadians grit their teeth and reluctantly “get through” winter, complaining all the while, getting depressed, cussing while scraping ice off the windshield, and hating every minute of it. It’s not just immigrants from hotter countries who suffer with the winter blues.

People don’t like to admit this, but it’s true – winter is about 6 months of the year in Canada. You easily see the first snowfall before Halloween, and there’s still snow on the ground until the end of March, with the possibility of one last snowfall in April. That’s a whole lotta winter!

Early November and lots of snow

This was my third winter in Canada, and I am proud to say I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. The first winter was of course the big shock — we weren’t prepared, we didn’t have good gear, we didn’t know anything about how to handle the weather, far less how to even think about enjoying it. Thankfully, we have learned.

My friend Atiba, a Trini who lived in Sweden, always says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather — just bad clothes”. Finally I understand what he means.

I also saw a meme on Facebook that struck a chord:

So very true! We can’t stop the snow. So instead of bitching and whining, I’ve finally learned how to embrace the snow. And the best way is to go out constantly and play in it.

Took forever but we built a pretty good igloo!

The new routine is this: when it’s time to go pick up my kid from school, I put on my snow pants, hat (sorry, “toque”, we’re Canadian now) and warmest gloves. I carry a sled with me in the trunk, and stick around after school with the other parents, all in their warmest gear, while the kids sled on the hill behind school for an hour.

It has to be really, biting cold, like -15’C, to deter us from this after school outdoor time. Through this I’ve met so many nice parents, some of whom I only recognize by their winter coat, though I’m sure in the spring I’ll actually see who they really are.

After the big ice storm, the flag outside the school was frozen solid!

And on weekends, it’s more sledding, but on the bigger hills. It’s great to see so many kids and parents just out there having fun in the snow and acting like a bunch of big kids.

Do we look like good Canadians yet?

Then there are all the winter festivals, with horse drawn carriages in the snow, hot chocolate and cider, and tubing.

Into to dog sledding???

Next winter, I’ll really have to try cross country skiing and maybe the most uber Canadian sport of all, curling. In the meantime, there’s lots of great cardio exercise to be done shovelling the endless supply of snow.

Either way, this winter was not depressing (for the most part), and I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’ll have to keep trying to find joy in the snow.

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