Hong Kong, Life & Reflections

Winter Woes

Since my return to Singapore a month ago, I’ve been asked: “What did you miss most about Singapore?”

“The weather,” I’d reply.

This was usually met with astonished laughter.

But let me tell you, winter was no joke.

The below is an entry I wrote back in early December, detailing my winter woes, and which I gladly share with you now that I’m back in my natural habitat and climate.

“It’s so cold and I can’t get warm!”

I repeat this to myself when I’m shivering in a bundled huddle in bed, when I prepare to take a dreaded shower, and when I step outdoors to a sky that’s an unforgiving grey slate.

It is an internal refrain I often bemoan to myself, now that winter has finally arrived in Hong Kong.

I was caught unprepared when the temperature nosedived a few days ago. From wearing a a sleeveless dress one sunny day, to gloves and multi-layers the next. The temperature even dropped to a low of 12°C last week.

I know, I know, not as cold as Beijing (-3°C) or Oymyakon (-50°C), but give me a break! I’m from a country that’s effectively summer all-year round and sweating is the norm. The room I’m in right now, and where I spend a fair share of my time now that it’s the exam period, is non-heated. This means that I wear at least one long-sleeved shirt, hoodie, long pants and socks at any given moment.

I had to wear gloves in my room, and yes, I type and write with them on!

Also, I have a very poor constitution for the cold. My optimum room temperature hovers at around 27°C. Right now, it’s ten degrees below that.

My fingers and toes turn icy numb. I can’t concentrate on revision because all I can think of is how cold I am. I fantasise how it’d feel like to enter into hibernation: storing up fat through the copious consumption of warm beverages and soups–think piping hot chocolate and bean-y tong shui (Mandarin for ‘sweet soup’)–before burrowing underneath my comforter for a looong siesta.

Here are some insights gleaned and lessons learnt from a week’s collection of wintry weather (yes, it’s only been a week):

It is possible for your tongue to feel cold. It is also possible to have goosebumps on your scalp and ears.

“Can you cook cucumbers?” (I Googled this in the hopes of eating them warm. Google said no.)

Why oh why didn’t you listen to your mother when she told you to bring along that extra jacket? Just because it looked ‘uncool’–who cares, it would’ve kept you warm!

Shaving is no longer a necessary routine. You need as much leg hair as you can grow to keep you warm, no matter how sparse. Also, shaving means shaving time off freezing in the shower (ha ha). Ain’t nobody got time for that!

What’s the point of getting a touchscreen phone when you can’t swipe with gloves on?!

You finally understand why people use the Weather App: to see how much they will freeze that day.

Humans are not meant to live like this.

I will never complain about Singapore’s weather ever again.

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