So it’s somehow been quite a few months since I’ve last updated this blog. When I went back to read my last entry (posted at the beginning of November!) I could have almost shed a tear at the memory of the sun-drenched campus with its beautiful fall colours. Unsurprisingly, the last few months have transformed Kingston into much more of a wintery landscape and the days of throwing on a pair of shorts and Birkenstocks to go to class have been replaced by a necessary ritual of donning a huge winter jacket, hat, scarf and mittens as well as snowboots – in an effort to deal with the city sidewalks, which appear to have taken on secondary usage as ice rinks.
Nevertheless, one of things which has struck me the most is how little the weather appears to affect daily life in Canada. Back in England, we were regularly given snow days on the rare occasion that we received a pitiful 2 or 3cm of snow, even though this would invariably have turned to slush by lunchtime. At Queen’s, however, things continue just as normal, although it is slightly harder to get out of bed for your 8.30am classes when you know it’s -25C outside and you have 6 inches of snow to tread through on your way to campus. Luckily for me though, it still seems to be socially acceptable to complain about the weather, and for me to shout “IT’S SO COLD OUT THERE” every time I enter my front door. I like to think I’ve built up my tolerance for cold somewhat though, considering I verifiably exclaimed the other day that it was “actually quite mild” even though my iPhone confirmed the temperature as -5. On the other hand, I did make the decision to wear thermals to a bar a few weeks ago, which I felt very smug about at the time but am now worried could be a slightly more alarming development.
Making the best of the weather has involved as much snow-related activity as possible, (weirdly enough the snow has been unusually unreliable – thanks global warming!). During a trip to Montreal last weekend, my housemate and I went tubing for the first time with her cousins. Picture sledging but with a slightly sturdier version of a rubber ring and you’ve basically got the idea. Free local ice-rinks have also popped up all over Kingston so I’ve swapped the indoor rink for the outside version, which is far more fun. Funnily enough, the Canadian National Skating Championships were also held in Kingston a couple of weeks ago so I got a chance to watch junior competitors from across the country demonstrate a more proficient display. Luckily, there were also enough falls to mean it carried a sufficient entertainment quota. Like ice hockey, which at my first game way back in December, I discovered to be brilliantly violent, it’s always the most amusing to watch when someone completely wipes out. Hopefully not following the same vein – a winter in Canada obviously wouldn’t be complete without some skiing, so I also have a weekend trip planned to Mount Tremblant in March.
Yet – considering the cold weather will likely continue until April, it’s our upcoming reading week trip to the Dominican Republic that is garnering the most excitement. And thus I have found that my number one coping strategy for the freezing temperatures is having the prospect of pina coladas on the beach on the not-too-distant horizon. Who would have thought?