Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Musings (Okay, I whine sometimes...)

I've heard winter wears on the heartiest of souls.  If that's the case, imagine what it does to a California girl!

After the wonder of snowy scenes in my little ville began to fade, I had to come to terms with the fact that I had relocated to a place that has this thing called 'seasons'.  

During my first winter in Aix (the coldest in many years, according to statistics at that time - though we've had colder last year when the fountains froze!), I called a friend of mine complaining sharing about the amazingly low temperatures and the sense of being frozen from the inside.  "I actually sit with a portable heater stuck up my bum in an attempt to stay warm," I whined.  (This was true, by the way...well, practically true.)

"Didn't you take your winter clothes?!" he queried, his incredulous tone smacking away the shot of support I was hoping for. 

"Yes, P.W., I did.  All of them.  But 'winter clothes' in California and 'winter clothes' here in Aix are two.very.different.things., thankyouverymuch," I said spat back defensively.

Looking back, ski clothes might just have done the trick that first winter, but I was still adjusting to the glares looks I was getting on the street from the French women I passed.  I was certainly not ready to hit these stylish streets looking like the Michelin Man for the sake of personal comfort.  (I tried to "stay curious" about this behavioral pattern of being given the once-over from head to toe with the accompanying look a cranky principal might give a 7th grader who is wearing a T-shirt that says, "The dog shit on my homework" or something like get what I mean.  It's a curious look and made me squirm a bit at the beginning.  I've since surmised that perhaps some of these women actually *like* my style and are loathe to admit it...but I digress...)

More than simply figuring out how to recognize snowflakes as they fell from the sky and adding a few woolen items to my beach-y wardrobe, my learning curve included things like:

•  purchasing a humidifier to make life less crackly and parchment-like
•  drinking way more water than I thought was humanly possible
•  making sure there is always a handkerchief in my coat pocket when I go out the door. 

To that last point, you see, you never know when you're going to run into someone on the street and have to exchange bisous.  I try to make sure my bisous are offered sans* a runny nose.  Seems only reasonable and perhaps a part of that French politesse that somehow got overlooked when the Académie Française was hammering out the Rules to Live By.  (I've been known to cringe a bit when a well-intentioned runny nose is heading in toward my cheek at a rapid speed. I'm funny that way.)

Honestly, I'm pretty good with winter these days...err.... right through to the middle of January, that is.  After that point, I'm pretty much done.  D.O.N.E.  I begin looking for signs of Spring - well, that and winter deals for a trip to Paris for a change of scenery.  Which is what I'm going to do as soon as this post is up. 

That's right.  Winter is the time of great deals on the train.  Paris - up and back - for 50€?  I'm sooooo there.  A little excursion will do me good.  And probably all of you, too.  I'll be able to tone my whining down a bit.  Keep your fingers crossed.   I'm ready to be sprawled out in the warm window of an art shop, dreaming of birds and bunnies like this Parisian cat rather than bundling myself up in wool scarves and mittens to head out into another wintery day in my little 'hood.   Sooooo ready.

Let's take a little virtual field trip to Paris this weekend, shall we?

Stop in when you can over the weekend for more Postcards from Paris - especially those readers from the snowier corners of the world.  I promise a peek at Spring.



laura said...

I completely understand!! I had/still have a hard time getting used to winter over here. As I never participated in winter sports, I didn't even HAVE ski clothes or anything really warm when I moved out here last year. I brought some sweaters that I would wear in the winter in CA that are paper thin and they do absolutely nothing here! I can wear them at the end of "spring," but like I said in my post printemps, spring is a total joke. It is still cold during the spring

Good luck dealing with the cold! As a fellow California girl I really don't have any advice to give on that subject, haha.

Have fun in Paris!

leslie said...

I am sooooo ready for spring. Usually winter doesn't bother me very much but this year I am really struggling to be happy about it. Have a great weekend.

la fourchette said...

laura, this is my *seventh* winter season. Seven. Count 'em. I'm better dressed now (as in more prepared), and certainly more accustomed to the temps than I was oh those 7 years ago...but they're still too damn long, these winters! (And yes, we go from winter to a few really lovely days that one might call spring but for the still-cooooool temps - then right into blistering summer around these parts. Yea. Really fun.) No advice necessary...I just need a good shoulder (or 31 and counting!) to lean on for an occasional whine-fest.

leslie, your snowy corner was certainly one that I had in mind when I hinted about showing a little spring tomorrow. I think you all are being hit with another serious dusting. Stay warm. As I recall, the last time you tucked in due to the cold, you had some lovely artistic results when all was said and done. Hang in there. We can do this!


donna said...

if i am really quiet and don't mention the temperature here in SoCal...can i come with you to paris?....will you save me a seat?....being that this will be the cheapest ticket in town ("virtually" free) would be my pleasure to sit with you on the trip!....(i can tell you that that's not what i paid from paris to aix on the TGV!!!)

la fourchette said...

donna, your seat is saved...but absolutely *no* temps from SoCal allowed! ... this is the time of year when I white knuckle it to not look for tickets to California rather than cheap fares to Paris!

Bon weekend!

Char said...

i have to adjust to sweats and sweaters too ... not as glamourous

can't wait for Paris

la fourchette said...

Char, in cool temps, glamor gives way to function in any language, any culture, any country...errr...maybe not so much in Paris! '}

Bon weekend,

Betty C. said...

Your winter has been pretty tough so far in Provence. Last year in Aveyron it actually snowed IN EARLY JUNE! I mean it didn't stick, but work we were all drinking 10 cups of coffee a day, contemplating hurling ourselves out of the staff room window...

Yes, winter is not always easy. Somehow I never noticed it when I was living in Olympia, WA.

la fourchette said...

Betty C., We *have* had a rather tough go this winter...although nothing like some of my friends around the world in colder and snowier corners, so I try to keep my whining to a minimum. We had an unseasonably cool spring last year as snow in June (!) I'm happy to say. (Made me laugh with the 'hurling out the staff room window'!)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday...hope the week gets off to a good start...{and stay away from the staff room windows!;}


Betty C. said...

I might mention that our staff room has a great view of one of those outdoor thermometer displays, which may have reinforced the overpowering gloom!

la fourchette said...

Betty C., Hah! Made me laugh out loud! Thanks ;}


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