I looked at the weather report this morning (5am) as I prepared to go to work, 20 degrees, clear, windy and cold.
Immediately my brain went through my wealth of winter options, picking out a long undershirt, a turtleneck, a larger turtleneck/sweater, tights, slacks, my warmer boots, hat made by grandma and my poofy coat.
As I looked sympathetically at my boyfriend (he's from much warmer places), shivering next to me at the bus-stop, I thought:
Thank goodness for MinneSNOWta.
I spent 3 years in Minnesota, part of my attempt to 'discover America' and get to know the country of my birth after college. I learned many things there.
One thing I learned about was winter. It gets to -40 degrees. That's 40 degrees Farenheit AND Celsius (they're the same at that number) BELOW zero. My last job involved driving all around MN, in all weather, staying with my lovely volunteers, most of whom prefer winter over other seasons.
As a result, I own...approx 6 short coats of various windproofings and warmth, dozens of undershirts to provide consistent lack of skin, 2 long coats, 1 Chinese Communist coat that could easily be a sleeping bag or a small tent (its big, stuffed cotton, basically a large green comforter with arms), gloves, hats and mittens that can be worn at 15 below zero while snowmobiling at 60mph on a frozen lake in Ely or International Falls.
I learned many other things in MN, but I definitely learned about winter. Let me know if you need advice on winter clothes, pitfalls, or just stories about winters that are so cold that you can drive on the ice, have to plug in your car's engine so it doesn't freeze and have to be covered up so that you don't get frost bite or freeze to death.