Monday, October 25, 2010

The Long Winter (Maybe?)

One of the first things that Beijingers (native or ex-pat) will tell you when you arrive and begin the inevitable complaining about the weather (which, depending on when you arrive, will most likely be freakishly warm or freakishly cold): "You're going to love October. It's really nice. Oh and May, May is beautiful."

And it was only after several months of hearing this line that I began to freak out. "Wait a minute," I realized, "You're telling me that I live in a city that has only two good months of weather out of the year? How is that any comfort at all?"

The sad truth of the matter is it's only a slight exaggeration (September's actually quite nice, and so is April). Last year, the accuracy of this statement turned out to be extremely uncanny. After an excellent October (which may or may not have been aided by the hullabaloo of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic), a snowstorm erupted shortly after the clock ticked midnight on November 1. To be fair, a few flakes came down the evening of the 31st, but all of us awoke from our post-Halloween revelries (which involved tin foil robots, giant iPods and fried bananas) to a blanket of snow. So yeah, October turned out to be a nice month. Followed by at least 5 months of bitter cold.

Which brings me to the current situation. October has not been a particularly nice month this year, which has me extremely worried. Multiple Chinese friends have told us (probably because they all heard it on the same state-owned radio station) that this winter promises to be the coldest winter in a thousand years.

Wait...What??? In the words of my friend Kip, "Like anyone can even know that..."

Last winter, which was itself a doozy, was the coldest winter in 50-something years. Which leaves me wondering just how cold the other 940-something years before that were.

I'm reminded: "the first stage of grief is denial." So now that it's starting to dip below freezing while we're still solidly in the month of October, I'm starting to get a little freaked out. Basically, aside from leather leg and hand warmers for our electric scooter, there's not a whole lot more clothing that I had planned on bundling up in when winter came (I've already donned the thermals and my down jacket). I'm going to have to get creative, though, since we've got at least another 30 something degrees fahrenheit to drop on our way to spring.

2 comments:

Greg said...

I know how you feel. The Oakland newspaper said it may rain on Halloween this year.

Ingrid said...

Hooollyy Crap. I hope you guys are doing okay mid-way into November. I miss you.