All my life I’ve lived in a city with just two seasons: sunny or stormy (or both in one day). When there’s sun, temperatures in Quezon City (QC) could sizzle to as much as 40 degrees Celsius, but on a good day, it could be as cool as 16 degrees.
Ah, how I miss the cool February breeze blowing down, the sky a clear baby blue above me as I bike over to my daughter’s school to bring her lunchbox…
Now, I’m here in British Columbia, North America, a four seasons place, where people actually get their car tires changed for winter. Your life, your career, not to mention your whole wardrobe, will be designed around the weather. I honestly didn’t know what a parka was until I was forced to buy one after my first encounter with biting dry cold, possibly named Elsa, and in all likelihood domiciled hereabouts.
I’ve since picked up quite a few tricks to keep myself warm, especially in winter where temperatures could drop to as low as -8 degrees. (I hope nobody from Ontario or Manitoba is reading this – you’ll understand why once you’ve met some people from over there!)
So okay, without further ado, here’s how this part-Arab camel from the Philippines keeps herself warm every day:
- KEEP HAIR DRY. I shower in two parts: first, washing the head, wrapping it in a towel so it doesn’t drip wet when I’m done; then the rest of me in quick, brisk strokes of warmed soap. I also blow-dry my hair before leaving the house. Leaves get blown-dry here, so why not my hair as well? Cold hair in negative weather will freeze your gray matter, and your thought process will be cloudy at best. Also, shampooing frequency is down to about three times a week. Your scalp won’t stink because it will simply stop producing oil. Your sebaceous glands will finally get their much-needed rest in cool winter America.
- FLEECE YOURSELF. Became addicted to the fleece throw that Bong gave me last Christmas, and have since used it a la Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, as in forever wrapped around my shoulders when inside the house, curling the edges around my balled fists. Would gladly use it outdoors too, as long as there’s a spaceship waiting to teleport me to Betelgeuse. Sniffing dogs will find me easy in the galaxy with this item of clothing!
- MAKE FRIENDS WITH WASHROOM DRYER. I hang out by the dryer in the washrooms so often that you might mistake me for a Dyson sales specialist. I dry my hands at the dryer even when my hands are still dry. Nothing keeps clammy palms dryer than an old-fashioned hand dryer roaring full steam around your frozen fingers.
- DON’T GET COLD FEET. If your feet are warm, you will be fine, but you will also be preyed upon by those with cold feet, like my daughter who loves to put her cold feet on mine to warm them. We’ve been playing footsies a lot! I’ve also said goodbye to rubber slippers a while back – the thick sock with the rubbery underside is my feet’s new BFF. They are comfy and noiseless, and you can wiggle your toes easy to denumb them.
- EMPTY YOUR POCKETS. Because you’ll want to put your hands all the way in them to keep warm while walking down the road. No wonder they’re lined with soft fabric.
- GRAB THAT DESIGNER COFFEE WHEN YOU CAN. In my hipster neighborhood back in QC, everybody’s drinking designer coffee. Now I understand why Seattle invented this lifestyle. Walking with an overpriced paper cup of mediocre coffee in one hand actually keeps your hands warm! Kaya pala…
- KEEP MOVING. Now I’m convinced that Tropang Trumpo is actually a group of Canadian OFWs! You kind of have to become like a spinning top to stay alive in these extreme climes. By walking briskly, you generate heat in your body. I am astounded to discover from my phone app that a typical day consists of me having walked at least 10,000 steps or almost 7 kilometers. OMG. I’ve never been this active in QC, where I could sit on the couch for hours watching Better Call Saul.
So there, in a nutshell, is how I’ve been surviving the infamous Canada Dry! Thanks for reading, and happy that you’ve been sufficiently apprised!