Winter is coming

Snowy street in Halifax

“Winter is coming.”

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard this said with intonations of dread liberally borrowed from “The House of Stark” and John Snow.

It happens most often when I’m wearing my rose-coloured glasses, waxing poetic on the beautiful new-to-me city I live in to Haligonians and Ontarions alike. Inevitably, either a sinister cackle or a few seconds of reverential silence follows the statement, and what goes through my head is… “Oi!”

“Winter is coming.”

I am trying to figure out if Haligonians are warning me of impending doom and that I must prepare now, while I can, or if it is evidence of an incorrect mythology that Ontario winters are either better or more enjoyable. As for my Ontario friends—I wonder if the chant might be an ill-conceived attempt to lure me back to the sea-less province before I am ready to return.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that in Ontario my outdoor winter time was limited to the unavoidable moments, slogging from car door to place and then back home again, punctuated with the occasional exception, when it was neither bitterly cold nor a bizarre mix of snow, ice or rain and I could actually do something outside.

Can it really be that different here?

Course, I guess I don’t have a garage, as I did in Ontario, to stow my wheels.

“Winter is coming.”

My lineage is Jamaican. I am one generation removed from the island. And because I was born and raised in Canada, technically, I should be used to winter. But then there is the biological reality of close to four centuries of Caribbean DNA in my veins,  every cell of my body preprogrammed for sun, sand and sea.

Adjust to winter continues since birth, but I have ways to get through it.

Winter is pasta season and bread season and all things casserole, not to mention experimental baking season, heavy emphasis on sweet. Constant kitchen use makes for warmth, the oven as sun, in a room populated by a continuous sea of people. (Sea + Sun… check… just missing the sand.)

Winter is avoid-the-cold time. Five’ish months of hunkering in, staying warm, and growing a layer of extra padding, whether by blanket or calorie count, until the snow is gone. Cue knitting, painting, Netflix, book group and reading time.

Actually, a simpler term would be hibernation.

“Winter is coming.”

I say bring it on Halifax. I have my survival plan.

In my teeny flat, the oven activity will replace the two fireplaces I left behind, warming my 500 square feet. I will cook and bake to lure people in and generate content for the cookbook my son’s girlfriend, Sara, and I have dreamt up.

I won’t drive. Living in the downtown core, I can walk as little as a half a block or as much as a kilometer, weather permitting, to get food supplies. Worst case scenario, I walk twenty sidewalk slabs to my new favourite restaurant, Edna’s, and skipping the arduous grocery mission altogether for as long as my bank account will provide. My car can stay buried in the mountains of snow until Spring if I so choose.

I have  warm boots and tip to toe winter gear, including balaclava. I say again, bring it on Halifax.

Winter is coming.”

Oh, right. One more thing.

I forgot to mention… I am off to Toronto the last week in January, and from there, I am going to Jamaica for research purposes, and then visiting my BFF, Leslie, at her new digs in the Cayman Islands. I should be home in March… maybe April.

Hmmmmm… not sure how that might affect my acclimatization, but I will be sure to write a post from each destination to provide updates on how I am making it through the Halifax winter trials and tribulations.

“Winter is coming.”

What’s that Halifax? I can’t hear you.

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