My parents were visiting this week. As we were going to bed, my husband mentioned that it felt colder than usual in the house. He went down to check the thermostat and sure enough it was at 20 instead of 21 C. He turned it up and the furnace kicked in. We joked, “Maybe Mom turned it down since she’s always so hot in our house.” A couple minutes later we hear someone on the main floor, “She’s come to turn it down again.” We laughed. As it turns out, she hadn’t changed the thermostat.
Yes, we like to keep our house nice and warm. After all, in Canada, we’re wimps when it comes to cold.
When I moved to France, the people I met told me, “Oh you’re going to be in Rodez, Rodez is cold. Oh, but you’re from Canada, so you’ll be fine.” I of course thought I would be fine too.
France is colder than Canada folks. They don’t keep rooms hot unless someone is in them, so they turn down the radiators during the day. Since I was living in a highschool and the students went home for the weekend, our heat was turned down and weekends were cold. Churches were especially cold, it’s nearly impossible to try and heat a huge stone building with a high ceiling for an hour during Mass.
France was nothing compared to Japan though. Japan was freezing! I mean the coldest it got was -5C, but it was colder than I’ve ever experienced in Canada. Some of the people we met told us they got frost bite on their toes in their HOUSES!
In Canada, when it’s cold outside, our entire houses are heated, so we go around comfortably. If we go out, we push a button on our keys to get our car to start before we go out in the cold and then, run from the warmth of our homes to the warmth of our car. Either that or we have garages that keep our cars warm. But in Japan, when we got home from being out, we kept our coats on. If it was 0C outside, it was 0C inside and we’d have to start up our kerosene heater and wait until our house warmed up while inhaling the stinky fumes. We slept with toques and scarves. We could feel drafts coming up through the floor boards.
I’ve never been so cold as I was in Japan.
The schools in Japan are the worst though. My husband would wear four layers of clothing to try and stay warm. I went into a few schools as well. When I got there I would be all warm because it was a relatively nice day and I was biking. The cold would set in as the windows are open and a 5C breeze is blowing through the building, you aren’t moving to stay warm, and there’s no sun to warm you. Some classrooms have kerosene heaters, but during recess they turn them off and open the windows to get the “germs” out of the classroom.
In both France and Japan, I found that I was warmer outside when I was moving than inside when I was still. The thing about living in these countries is that everyone thinks you should be all tough about the winter because you’re from Canada where it gets to -40C. It doesn’t get to -40C in our houses though.
At a science centre we visited in Nagoya, Japan, they had a room that they cooled down to -40C. A long line up of people waited to experience how cold -40C is. They had snowsuits for people to put on before they went in the room. We laughed and skipped that display, little did they know that they regularly live in colder than us.