Winter is Coming

It’s getting colder here in Beijing, it’s 11 degrees at the moment and over the next week the temperature is expected to drop by 14 degrees, not to,  by. That’s Cold.

With each dip of the temperature I shudder at the thought of a “real” winter. In WA, winter means ugg boots, red wine and whinging if it dips to 14 degrees – central heating and goose down jackets don’t really enter the equasion.

It is not, however, my first time living through proper cold weather, and as I haggle over the price of thermal underwear in Beijing, I can’t help but cast my mind back to the last time I had to seriously prepare for The Cold.

*Wavy screen dissolves into image of an awkward looking 17-year old in a school uniform filling out Rotary Exchange forms. It is the year 2000, and Perth, Western Australia, is sweltering though a record hot summer.*

All through high school I begged my parents to let me go on an overseas student exchange. Despite being fairly enthusiastic travellers themselves, the thought of sending their teenage daughter to some far flung place seemed to trigger something in the part of their brains that can only imagine the Worst Case Scenario. I would be stuck in the outskirts of some miserable German industrial town, (“You might as well go to jail for a year”) or South Africa, (“Like Perth but you can’t leave the house”) or America (“You’ll have to go to church!”).

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