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A Freezing Winter Day in Los Angeles

by Ilana Angel

December 7, 2011 | 9:09 am

I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and I know what winter is.  Cold, dark, snow, ice, wind, all of it.  Days when your actual bones shiver, and spending 15 minutes getting into a snowsuit, to then spend 15 minutes getting the ice off the car is just not worth it so you stay home.  Winter is cold, and as a Canadian from the prairies, I can assure you I know winter.

Winter in LA is a whole other story.  I have been to the beach on Christmas day getting a suntan, and worn a sleeveless dress with no jacket on New Year’s Eve.  Los Angeles is blessed with an easy winter and I have been grateful for twenty years.  I miss a Canadian winter though and go home just so I can experience frozen bones and an afternoon of sledding.

When I left my house this morning at 6:30, I stepped outside and gasped. It was so cold that it caught my breath and I actually panicked for a minute. Where was I?  What was happening?  It was 32° and for the first time in as long as I can remember, my bones were shivering.  It is so cold that I can see my breath and am quite certain I smell snow in the air.

I did the only thing I know how to do in such a situation, I turned around, went back in the house, put the kettle on, and waited for the news to tell me it was a snow day and I didn’t need to leave the house.  I am now sitting with a cup of tea, in a sweater, a coat, a scarf, hat, and gloves, with the heater on full blast, trying to warm up my freezing bones.

I turned the TV on just in time to hear Matt Lauer tell me that the east coast, from North Carolina to Maine, is bracing for a Nor’easter and expect to be pounded with up to a foot of snow.  I appreciate that it’s sunny with no chance of snow in LA, but that does not take the sting out of the chill in the air, and I don’t feel bad for complaining about the bitter cold.

Now, just because I do not feel bad does not mean I am not a little embarrassed.  Has my blood thinned so much that my Canadian resilience has turned into a spoiled LA brat?  Am I now a wimp who complains of freezing every time I need to put on a sweater?  What has happened to me?  There was a time when 32° was simply a brisk day.  I’m sorry Canada.

It is humiliating to have become so weak when it comes to the cold, and I never thought this day would come.  You would think there was a foot of snow outside my door the way I am avoiding leaving.  Can I really call myself a true Canadian when 32° and sunny is enough to declare a snow day?  To those who are experiencing a real winter, please forgive me.

To my beloved Canada, after twenty winters away it makes sense that I would lose my winter edge.  I fear that even if I return and experience first hand what cold really is, I will not get back to my true Canadian spirit.  Perhaps I must simply admit I am a winter wimp and own it.  Will the Motherland forgive my weakness?  I’m keeping the faith.

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