I’ve grown up in Sydney my whole life. Sydney has mild winters – usually around 8 – 17°C (47 – 63°F). My parents are from Malaysia – it’s a tropical country. So you can imagine my shock when I learned about what actually changes when winter comes around in other countries.
I’m in a car with some Quebecers when we start talking about driving in the city. One person mentions that the car might stop running over the winter. This is news to me. I ask them if it’s because of the cold. The confirm, and also tell me about winter tires.
“Wait, what? What are winter tires?”
“They’re tires with more grip. You change over your tires every winter,” one guy explains.
He continues to tell me how parking on the side of the road during winter will mean snow will be plowed onto it to make way for actual moving vehicles. Apparently a friend of theirs once left their car in the same spot all winter – completely covered in snow.
I also notice heated towel dryers and heated floors (which are luxuries back in Australia) in many homes I visit. I guess they’re almost a necessity in colder climates – how will your towel ever dry otherwise?
And offices? Well revolving doors are much more common because lose less heat, otherwise you sometimes get that double entrance where you have to go through two sets of doors.
I also have realised that none of the shoes I own are warm enough. Yes, winter shoes are a thing too. As is snowshoeing.
Winter really changes the way you live, and I couldn’t believe how ignorant I was to all of this. I guess you don’t know what you don’t know.
I’ve yet to actually experience a really cold winter – maybe that will happen in my next few stops in Europe. But at least I know what I might encounter.