Filly was cold! It was cold during the daytime and it was cold during the night time. Biting cold!! Not enough hay or blankets could warm her. It was about that time that she began to realize why people here did certain things a certain way.Although I had grown up in the Chicago area with the Lake effect weather and extreme wind chill factors, but nothing could have prepared me for length and feel of a Siberian cold front. Especially in a place where coal was the primary source of heat.
That is when I began to discover the ingenuity of keeping warm. The Chinese wear an entire wardrobe in the wintertime. It’s called a layered look, but no one seems to notice the clothes themselves. They pinch you to determine if you are wearing enough (which I never discovered what enough was and was pinched often by motherly women who felt I didn’t eat enough or wear enough).
The way you wear the layered look is to wear all your clothes at once. Then, each day after your sponge bath (way too cold to actually take a REAL bath or shower), you replace the clothes in such a way that the ones on top are now on the bottom and ones from the middle move outward.
Those who don’t use coal or a stove as a source of heat, have a window air-conditioning unit that serves as a cooling unit in the summer in addition to a heating unit in winter. It warms enough to heat a few feet of a room directly around it. They are referred to as air-conditioners, although they perform both heating and cooling which becomes slightly amusing to an American mind in the winter’s bitter cold.
Electricity is a high demand commodity. Especially for the factories and especially at the end of the month and even more so during the month that ends the quarter or the year. Entire grids will be shut down in order to divert power to factories for production purposes. So you learn to do without.
A water bottle becomes your best friend. You boil more water than you think possible. You boil water to drink. You boil water for the bottle. You boil water for the sponge bath. You boil water for the tea. You boil water for the rice. Boiling, boiling, boiling…
And it stays cold for days…Wuhu is on the same parallel as Austin, TX, and there are semi-arid plants and fauna such as fan palms, but they survive the cold in a hibernated state.
You also begin to crave fashions such as the glove without fingertips in many colors.
Filly was to learn that real warmth comes from the heart.