On The morning of March 18th, after a previous day of nonstop rain, we woke up to snow. While we do have snow on occasion in Beijing during my eight winters here we have never had it arrive this late. It was a lovely snow that because of all the moisture in the air was great packing snow. People came out all over to get their pictures taken in front of bushes, trees etc. that were covered in snow. The park across from my house looked like a fairy land for a short time.
The difficulty of the sudden arrival of the snow was not the snow itself but rather that it appeared on the day that the government mandates that it is now Spring, warm weather has arrived and they turn off the heat. In the northern area of China the government controls when the heat is turned on, November 15th, and when it gets turned off, March 17th. Any other time I have to pay for heat through my reverse air con/heating all units. As you can imagine for a while the draw on the electricity and cost is substantial.
It just seemed a joke of Mother Nature that these two events happened at the same time. So for the past 10 days I have had the choice of either getting extremely cold inside or paying for comfort. You can probably guess which one I chose. Even with almost eight years under my belt here I have never taken to the Chinese custom of wearing long underwear to stay war. Here people layer under their clothes and put their working clothes on overtop. In Canada we dress in our winter wardrobe for work but our layering is done overtop with coats, snow-pants etc. I cannot imagine what it is like to go into a warm building and be able to take layering off when you get hot.
I still have trouble seeing my students running round outside in the cold without their winter coats done up. It is because they are wearing so many clothes underneath that they are not cold. Drives me crazy!!!!
I enjoyed what will probably be my last snowfall for a while as I won’t be seeing any snow in Guatemala. Though I do know that the classrooms and possibly apartments (?) are not heated. It will be an interesting change.