Tag Archives: snow

Learning to Like It

I hate cold! I’ve never been a fan of snow–even though I grew up buried under it in the Midwestern USA. When I finished university, I moved to Texas and vowed never to live in a cold climate ever again. Hahaha. After Texas I misguidedly moved to “California”. But San Francisco is hardly the balmy, sunny heaven I had in mind. It took 15 years to leave and probably another 15 to dry out after being rained on so much.

During a snowy, miserable New York City winter a few years ago, my friend told me about the Coney Island Polar Bears She was a cub on her way to becoming a full-fledged member of the Polar Bear Club. All she had to do was swim 12 times in the Atlantic Ocean during the ‘season’–which runs from November until April. Because she was living in an unheated warehouse in Brooklyn with no hot water, and had been living there like that for 10 years, she decided a dip in the winter ocean sounded nice. But she also told me that it was a sure way to beat my fear of the cold. So I went with her and she was right. At first I went swimming every weekend, but last winter in New York I only went one time. And that magic cure didn’t work anymore. I was still petrified of the cold.

Skiing in Stockholm. I don't know why someone like me doesn't own a balaclava

Finding myself in Sweden this week, I decided another way to embrace winter is to do winter-type activities. Perhaps I could learn to love snow. So, I begged my boyfriend (who, because of some cruel joke played on my by the universe, lives in Stockholm) to teach me to ski. He is not Swedish either, but has super-human immunity to weather, especially cold. And, he wanted to get back at me for the group cycling class I made him attend with me. Even though a real skier would not call Flottsbro a real ski hill, I did okay. I fell in the snow exactly 17 times in 6 hours. But it was FUN!!!! And now I have a reason to like snow. In fact, I have a new snow-obsession. We are planning a ski trip to Bulgaria before the winter is over. That is sick . . .

Not very convincing, I know--but it was actually quite fun

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Orhan Pamuk Orgasm

I love Istanbul in the winter. I don’t love the writing of supremely overrated Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk. Aside from his obvious pride in claiming that Istanbullus are morose and melancholic, his writing is boring and pedantic with redundant symbolism (Snow Snowy, the Major of Snow Town, and his snow-white love interest spend time in a mountain of snow watching the snow fall.)  And I don’t agree with him (even though he is from Istanbul) about the melancholy.  I think everyone is just a bit cold and ticked off that these old houses are not adequately heated or weather-sealed.  That made me crabby too when I was living in dank Victorian houses in San Francisco.

What is interesting about Istanbul in the wintertime is that everyone wears black and looks down at the ground.  Bundled up under a scarf with a knit hat on, no one can tell if you are tourist or not.  This frees a girl up for a number of things that she can’t get away with during peak season.  Yesterday I walked over the Galata Bridge from Beyoglu to the Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet, which I have amazingly never visited even though it is right there among all the other tourist destinations.  In warmer times, this walk would have been loud and punctuated by various bouts of unwanted attention from men fishing off the bridge, touts trying to sell tours of the Bosphorus, random dudes in lavender dress shirts asking, “Vere ah yoo frum?”  But yesterday the walk was quiet, no voices, just seagulls screeching and sounds of the Bosphorus lapping against the ferryboat docks.   I was invisible as a foreigner and as a woman.  That single luxury is the one thing missing from the list of pros of living here for most other months of the year.

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