[dropcap]It[/dropcap] was December in a place called Katy, Texas – about 10-minute drive from Houston, Texas. Every day at about 7am, I would walk for 20 minutes to my training centre; I liked to think of it as an adventure of sorts. The Best Western hotel where I was staying had regular shuttle to the training centre but I preferred to walk on those cold mornings. Coming from a tropical climate and having walked for about a week at a temperature of 5 degrees, I was convinced winter harshness was exaggerated.
As usual, I got dressed and ready to take my walk one fine morning. Feeling like a gutsy fella who could weather blizzards, I stepped outside and almost had the wind knocked out of me. Whoa! It felt as though someone had zapped down the temperature to -5 degrees from the sky. I knew quite well it was unbearable but I still put on bravado, I was determined to tough out the weather and make my usual morning walk. The concerned receptionist asked if I would love to go with the shuttle; I said, “Don’t worry, I will be fine”.
5 minutes into my walk and I was sure something was wrong with me. First off, I was not properly dressed for the weather that morning and it felt like my body systems were going to shut down one by one. I did not know what to do because the training centre was still far away; meanwhile, I had managed to cover some distance away from the hotel. I was stuck and I was on my own.
Just then, a car stopped beside me and I eagerly glanced to see who it was. Right there before me was this nice Canadian lady from class; boy, was I glad to see her! Thank God I had been friendly in class and said “hi” a couple of times. I guess she felt comfortable enough to pick me and in that moment, I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
My next winter experience was in February in London. Now winter in London is normally wet and thus feels colder. I was travelling from Dubai with my wife and it was her first winter experience.
[dropcap]We[/dropcap] had previously travelled in summer and I had shared my Katy winter experience her. I could sense the anxiety in her voice as the plane approached Heathrow Airport. She had so many questions and concerns: “how will the kids cope? How harsh can winter get? How harsh can -5 degree get on the human body?” Each time she asked, she seemed increasingly exasperated and I would calmly and reassuringly give her the classic answer that I got from my Kazakhstan friend, “there is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing”.
Finally, our plane landed at Heathrow airport so we moved past customs and waited a bit in the arrival hall for some family members to pick us up. They arrived and we all hugged and played catch-up for some minutes. The temperature of the arrival hall at Heathrow Terminal-3 could confuse a first-timer into feeling it’s the same outside. So wifey looked at me and said with a slight measure of sarcasm, “is this the winter you were telling me about?”
I knew what she must have been thinking so I smiled and replied, “Yes dear, I was only trying to scare you. Winter is not that harsh, even at -5 degrees”.
We rounded up on our gist and head towards one of the exits. At Terminal 3 where we were, there is a sharp turn into a corner before the exit we used. I knew what was coming but I tried to contain my excitement and act natural. As we took the turn, my wife exclaimed “whooooooaaaa, this feels like entering a deep freezer!”
Oh, how I wanted to burst out laughing with glee for all the sarcasm my wife tossed my way but I couldn’t even dare. If you have ever experienced winter while improperly dressed, I am sure you can relate with this story. If you have never, you probably think I exaggerated too.