Magazine Article for The Beijinger

Magazine Article for The Beijinger

Three Tips to Help You Survive the Winter Weather

Photo by Kevin Goodrich on Unsplash u

Last month, us Beijingers saw temperatures dip to a 33-year record low. That, for those of you live and breathe numbers, was -15 degrees C (before accounting for a 20-kph windchill). And, for those of you don’t really do numbers, I’ll say it another way: it was cold. It was, “Did you just see that polar bear buy an electric blanket?” cold. It was “Yeah, that feels like an iron is on every part of my exposed flesh” cold. It was “Wow, my rubber shoes are making the nails on a chalkboard sound every time I take a step” cold. It was… okay, you get the idea.

Maybe I’m just overreacting, and yes, to all of my Canadian or British expats, I probably am. But I’m from that sunny, chile-laden part of America where winter’s bite lasts only until the sun burns it away. Where I’m from, scanning parking lots for bits of shade to park your sweating car could be an Olympic sport. So yes, the cold gets to me the way that not having toilet paper in washrooms gets to others, so, here are three things I do to endure the senseless, err… the colder months of the year.

#1. Layer.

If you’ve just smashed your alarm clock (at the expense of letting an opportunistic gust of cold air into your cocoon) and you’re lying there wondering if the long underwear is a bit overkill or if you could just do a couple of lunges at the bust stop to keep the ice from collecting on your bits, then here is the checklist.

Were you cold yesterday?

Yes. Then don’t be lazy. Layer up.

Were you cold yesterday?

No. Okay, that was yesterday and today is a new day. The wind could be blowing or a storm could be coming, or that bus that always sounds like a troll with a sinus infection could have finally gargled its last song. So, wear that extra layer but plan on it as an accessory not as a base layer, viz. a cardigan, vest, or sweater. This way you can shell the layer when you get to your destination, but you still have another buffer between you and the icy claws of Jack Frost.

2. Buy a hand warmer.

If you cue up for the bus, wait and hope for a Taxi or have a more-than-pleasant distance to walk either to or from the subway, then say hello to your new best friend, a rechargeable hand warmer. The really pricy ones double as mobile chargers (so you can leave your other brick at home) and run a few hundred Yuan. Simply click the little button to “on” and the magic begins.

Everyone else at the bus: clapping their hands together or doing their best to imitate penguins on a just-too-small bit of ice. You: smiling as you wrap your fingers around your magical hand warmer. It will be the best money you’ve spent all year. Period. They come in various shapes and sizes replicating baby animals, you know, just to make sure that you’re maintaining proper amounts of cute while you try to stay toasty.

3. Hot Pot

Seriously, even if you’re not the biggest fan of meat, fine, order a side of rice and dip the plethora of veggies in the boiling cauldron of spice and yummy. Let the spice warm you. Let your tongue beg for something cold to put out the fire. When you’re sweating and thinking about how appealing an ice bath would be then you’ve just conquered winter. Hot pot. It’s one of the best and most delicious things China has to offer.

And finally, enjoy the cold. The heat will be back soon enough. Embrace each season, because each season holds its own special beauty.

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