>Winter here vs Winter there

>Winter is upon us here in the southern hemisphere. In Santiago, the Andes are snow-capped and look quite stunning when you can see them through the smog.

When people here from Vermont, they automatically make a comment about how cold it is there, and how much snow we get. They then inevitably say something about how I must be used to the cold because in Vermont it’s so much worse.

Therefore, I’ve been analyzing whether that’s really true. Overall, I’d say no. Don’t get me wrong. Winter is rough in Vermont. In bad years, winter starts in October and ends at the end of April. Yes, six months of winter. It snows, and quite a lot. We have ice storms. Driving gets very tricky and even dangerous.

Some memories I have of being really cold include waiting for the bus in the winter (with wet hair, which then froze into icicles, and no, I didn’t get pneumonia). Also, throughout my early teenage years I worked in the calf barn. Cows are creatures of habit, and therefore must be fed (and milked) at the same time every day. Every other weekend, I fed the calves. Their morning feeding was at 6:00am, so I had to wake up around 5:30am. In the winter, this was torture. The worst part was the fact I had to deal with milk, which is wet, making it hard to wear gloves.

I’m not exactly sure what month this was taken in, but I imagine either fall or spring because although I’m wearing a really attractive flannel quilted shirt (super warm!), I’m not wearing a hat or scarf, so it must not have been in the middle of winter.

But, despite having some memories of being extremely cold, the good thing about winter in Vermont (and other northerly places of the US) is central heating! So yes, you get really cold outside. It might be so cold that you can’t breathe, but as soon as you go indoors, it’s toasty warm. Also, winter can be fun in Vermont. Sledding, skating, skiing (if that’s your thing), snowshoeing, etc. The snow, although cold, provides hours of entertainment.

In Santiago, on the other hand, the weather is much milder. The coldest I’ve seen it is around -2 degrees Celsius (about 28 degrees Fahrenheit). It barely snows, although it does rain. Winter lasts, at most, four months. Also, there’s the veranito de San Juan (Saint John’s little summer) which happens at the end of June/beginning of July which provides 4-5 days of warm weather. This year, it happened last week and temperatures got up to 22 degrees C (72 F).

However, the coldness that does occur is quite damp. It chills you to the bone. Then, you go home and you’re so excited to be warm again….

Buy, no. Not likely. The vast majority of buildings in Chile do not have central heating. Chileans heat with estufas, either gas or electric. There are days when it’s colder inside than it’s outside.

Also, my life style here means that I’m outside a lot more. I don’t have a car, so I take public transportation. The metro can be quite warm (body heat, yummm!), but micros often have faulty windows that don’t close, and when it rains the seats get wet. Also, I walk a lot.

And because I don’t ski and don’t have a lot of money, there’s no snow for me to play in.

All in all, during the three winters I’ve spent here in Santiago, I overall have more negative feelings about winter here than winter there, although I have to admit I’m a warm weather girl, so really, winter anywhere gets me down.

Coming soon: How to Survive a Winter in Santiago!


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