I grew up in the tiny town (Europeans would scarcely even call it a village) of Horse Creek, California. Our house was tucked right into the side of a mountain in a lovely valley along the Klamath River We used to joke that the population of 115 included both humans and animals. The scenery was beautiful, but the climate was extreme. In the winter, we didn't always get a lot of snow, but the sun never shone on our house, so the yard often grew a veritable forest of frost. I can remember years so cold that my sister and I would curl up on the couch as close to the fireplace as we could get, with blankets piled high. I was familiar with the cold, and the crazy part is, I loved it.
I think the turn in my personality took place around the time I broke my back when I was thirteen. Whether it was the life changing accident, or merely natural teenage body changes, I flip flopped in my temperature gauge. I was no longer the little girl begging her mother to let her wear shorts when it hit 60 degrees. Instead, I developed into an absolute sun lover. This was highlighted in my years at Simpson University in Redding, CA, (where temperatures could reach into the hundred teens even in the late summer) and turned into an obvious life style choice when I moved to Hong Kong.
But what did I chose to do after making it obvious that I love the sun and being warm? Did I move back to California? Did I settle down in the tropics? No. First, of all the absurd things, I spent a winter in Alaska. Then, I moved to the Czech Republic, where the winters are slightly less bitter, but still no picnic. And this year, I decided to journey back to Czech for the winter. Um, come again? What was I thinking.
Naturally, this year is one of the coldest on record. It's like I completely forgot that when we flew out in November of 2010 that Europe was going through a blizzard which shut down airports as soon as our flights got through. When my husband said he needed to go home, I said, okay. And what did I end up with? This:
No, my hair didn't go permanently white due to the horror, it only froze after the walk where I encountered this frozen puddle.
As well as these breathtaking views.
The lowest temp I've seen thus far is -22C. While that might still not rival the temps I experienced in Alaska, it's still ridiculously cold. Especially because here, I don't always have a car to just jump into. If we want to go somewhere it requires walking, and sometimes spending a couple hours just hanging out in all that icy brutality. No, I'm no longer the little girl who thought living in Antarctica would be "cool."