China Observations – Cold (weather)
Incase you didn’t get the memo, I’m house-sitting in Minnesota for my aunt. MINNESOTA.
DURING THE WINTER.
This is because I’m an awesome human being and trying to save up Karma points for later. Because WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD EVER LIVE HERE?! (no one… Not even my aunt during winter…..)
Well- She has it rougher than me. I’m pretty adaptable to most weather conditions. (Hell, I wear sandals until it’s 40 degreesF outside). But not her.
Here is another story of her talking about the weather.
(Note: It got lost… it’s from October. Sorry.)
Those of you who know me (even slightly) know that the weather is not my friend. I don’t enjoy most temperatures. I’m most comfortable at about 77degrees. I can comfortably DEAL with temperatures as high as (approximately) 83 or as low as 70 but after that – my body freaks out. I begin thinking about sitting in front of a fan on full blast, or donning long underwear.
Since Shanghai is on the same approximate latitude as Savannah, Georgia, I figured that I was going to be a pretty happy girl – temperature wise! I wasn’t going to be in the Florida Everglades, and I wasn’t going to be in … well, … in Minnesota!!! However, when the wind grew brisker, the days got shorter, and the temperature dropped, I decided I had to go clothes shopping. It didn’t matter what latitude we were on – I was cold. I was going to need some clothes that were warmer than those I’d brought with me.
Shopping in China (at least in downtown Shanghai or Beijing) can be a claustrophobic experience. As soon as you enter the store, the shop girls rush to your side and hover nearby until you either decide on a purchase or exit. (There could be one, or there could be six, depending on how many potential customers are in the store at that moment.) I’m sure they are there to help (answer any questions, find you a different size or color, make other style suggestions, etc.), but since I can’t speak their language, I can’t and don’t need their help. They just “shadow” me non-stop. I wonder if their salary is based (in-part) on commissions?
The day of my shopping expedition was blustery, dark, and verging on rain. It was just a miserable day. The perfect day to buy “comfort clothes!” I bought some long underwear called HEAT TECH (made in Japan that feel silky, warm, and glorious). I also bought several turtle necks, and (ultimately – not on this one trip alone) six lamb’s wool sweaters. Oh, I also bought some socks. I was a happy girl and the shop girls looked happy too.
Perhaps because they made a commission without uttering a single word.
There is a young Chinese teacher who shares our faculty lounge. She teaches first period. She sweeps in each morning, turns on the heat full blast, but then opens all the windows. She says she needs fresh air. She does this no matter if it is foggy, smoggy, or downright freezing. She then leaves the faculty lounge, to teach, for ninety minutes. As soon as she leaves, I run over and shut the windows back up, tight as a drum.
We had a slight skirmish about it last week, and she accused me of not wearing enough clothes.
Well, let’s see. I had on my (very comfy) new long underwear. Then I had on a turtle neck which was covered by a cotton shirt, which was covered by a lamb’s wool sweater, and all of that was covered by a woolen (fleece lined) jacket that I hadn’t bothered to take off yet (because it was freezing in the lounge). She picked at my cotton shirt and declared that THIS was the layer that was not nearly thick enough. I asked her (she teaches English),
“How heavy should a cotton shirt be?”
“Heavier,” she replied.
“Why are you always so cold?” she asked.
“Because I am OLD,” I replied without hesitating. Actually – I don’t know why I said that.
Her chin dropped. She stood, mouth agape.
“I am SO SORRY, Miss M. I did not know that old people turn cold. Is that what makes your hair gray?”
I have no idea what expression was on my face. But I answered,
“Yes! So, can we PLEASE keep the windows closed?” She nodded.