SOCIAL MEDIA

07 January 2015

The Season of Alternating Scarves

Much of our everyday life here has felt similar to my everyday life in Malaysia

Until winter suddenly fell upon us the first week of December.

Now, this winter has been consistently in the 50s and 60s, often overcast, windy, and rainy. Compared to a Michigan winter, it's nothing.

However, it's not really fair to compare it to a Michigan winter, because in Michigan, we are generally well prepared for winters--we usually have furnaces and space heaters and fireplaces. We have carpet on our floors, winter wardrobe with coats and boots and gloves and sweaters. Our houses are built to seal out the cold, and the majority of people drive everywhere they need to go instead of walk.

Green paisley scarf. Note: Angel is wearing a t-shirt.

Polka dot scarf. I only took the brown pleather jacket off for my photo op with a snowman.

Winter here is a totally different experience. Because winter is so short and mild--ShenZhen doesn't have the same sort of infrastructure that places who get serious winter do. Buildings are designed to provide maximum comfort during the long hot season-- they have many windows, tile floors, cement walls...basically, nothing is warm and cozy.

In Michigan, I would put a space heater in the bathroom when I took a shower, to be more comfortable, because we only heated our house to 60 degrees when we didn't have guests over. Here, it's 60 degrees inside the house once again, but our bathroom is a "wet bathroom" and putting an electric space heater in the room while taking a shower would ensure death by electrocution.

I was used to hanging clothes out to dry in Malaysia--but standing out on the balcony in 55 degree weather and shaking the wrinkles out of chilly, damp clothing as I hang everything up doesn't feel quite the same. And I've never been a snob about washing dishes in cold water (no hot water at the faucet), but plunging your hands into a sink of what feels like ice water when it's already chilly in the house is less-than-pleasant. Of course I can heat up water in the kettle and try to find the perfect warm-but-not-scalding temperature for dish washing, but most of the time I'm lazy and just want to finish the dishes as fast as possible instead of filling up a pot and waiting for it to heat up.

Our school is also not heated, so I sit in our office with an electric "hot water bottle" on my lap to keep warm. In the classrooms, I stay plenty warm because I move around a lot while teaching, but our students sit in that chilly room for 8 class sessions a day--no wonder they wear scarves, gloves, and overcoats while at their desks! They do have outdoor exercise sessions each day, hopefully those are enough to warm everyone up again.

I have dubbed this the Season of Alternating Scarves, because this non-scarf lover brought 2 when packing for China. I have found my 2 scarves necessary for combating the wind, and I generally try to alternate between the black and white polka dot scarf and the green paisley scarf from one day to the next to add some variety. I'm determined not to purchase any new winter paraphernalia because I don't intend to experience many more winters. Our apartment had a little space heater and an electric hot water bottle in it when we arrived--those have definitely made life more comfortable!

P.S. I've been talking about feeling very cold this whole time, but Angel would like me to mention that he almost never feels cold, though occasionally, the temperature outside has been extreme enough to cause him to wear the one pair of jeans he packed, which really says something. He is alternating between a gray cardigan and a black soft-shell, usually with a short-sleeved shirt underneath.

16 comments :

  1. Sounds like Angel is pretty tough! Your leather jacket looks great--nothing like leather! Keep warm!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hate cold weather, so reading this gave me a few shivers. Our laundry is cold in the dryer because of how close the vent it to the outside air. I miss being able to take fluffy, warm clothes out and fold them! Hope you warm up soon (or get used to the cold!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think temperatures in the 50s and 60s year round would be my ideal climate! But that would be really frustrating to be chilly when nothing is warm and cozy. My favorite part of winter is making everything warm and cozy. If it helps at all, it's currently -8 in Ohio right now. I don't mind temperatures like that when I'm stuck inside, but when I have to go out in them it feels inhumane.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yikes! I get cold easy and all the time, at least the heat is on here at work and at home I keep it at 75. I like to be warm, my body temperature changes with the wind! I can't fathom doing the dishes with icy cold water but maybe gloves would help place a layer between your skin and the water? Have a great one Rachel and stay warm! -Iva

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's too bad you're a non-scarf lover, because scarves are super cute on you! This winter has been weird here, too. Just very wet, and there have been VERY few days that have gotten below about 38 degrees. Most days are in the mid 40's, which is just...weird. Usually it's in the teens and 20's this time of year, last year we got down to zero multiple days in a row. I don't mind it but I'm kind of afraid that we're going to get a late slam of snow after Isaiah leaves for the police academy, leaving me to deal with our slippery hilly driveway, shoveling snow and taking the trash all the way down the hill to the street by myself.

    Washing dishes in ice cold water is NO fun at all!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's similar here in FL, our winters are very mild, but when we get the occasional day below 40 or even 30, we don't know what to do with ourselves! However we do have hot water whenever we need it, that definitely helps!

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh goodness, I'm feeling for you! Today it is in the low twenties but feels like it is in the teens with the wind...cold=bad always!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh you.....only two scarves??!!?? Whenever that sort of thing has happened to me, I've immediately, upon finding more of my clothes, given the said items away, as I've never ever wanted to see them again!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Scarves are wonderful. The cold is not.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is NO WAY I could be dressed like Angel!
    I am absolutely fed up with winter. Next winter will be my last one -- once I graduate, I am getting as far away from the cold as humanly possible!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I moved from a carpeted apartment to one with hardwood floors and it definitely makes a difference in the feeling of warmth this time of year. I don't know if I'd get by without dressing like your students!

    ReplyDelete
  12. i am glad you're opting not to be the electric space heater in your 'wet bathroom' yikes! i would totally be struggling because i got the chills just imaging all those drafty windows. at least you have options with your functional/fashionable scarves!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The schools I've taught at have both been heated, but in the winter, during prep periods, it still gets cold because there is only 1 body in the room as opposed to 30+!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yikes, it sounds like it is getting cold!!!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am also a huge fan of wearing scarves for fashion and warmth! The weather here in the States has been super cold this week--some nights getting down into the single digits! Good thing we have scarves to help keep us warm! Stopping by from the #SITSBlogging party!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I feel like half my suitcase is scarves whenever I go anywhere. I have way too many! But they really are perfect for windy/cold days. Hopefully it's not too cold for long! That ice cold water doesn't sound too good.

    ReplyDelete