Enjoying Winter, or Enduring Winter?

by Audrey on January 27, 2013

“When you’re in Canada in the winter, you have one of two choices.
You can embrace winter, or you can sit at home like a sissy.”

For a Canadian, I (Audrey) am pretty wimpy when it comes to winter

Since Sam has been back home in Canada visiting his family this month, he’s gone ice-skating, played hockey outdoors, and even gone snow-shoeing through the woods. I, on the other hand, have been hibernating in Korea, cozying up with my electric blanket, and drinking cups of hot tea while I catch up on Argentinean films. Winter in Korea is on par with that in Canada, except I just can’t deal with it.

Sam’s opening lines in this video made me laugh because while he’s embracing winter, I’m clearly being a sissy in Korea…

But let me paint you a picture of just how cold it gets over here.

What’s winter in Korea like?


Audrey and Samuel in Korea during winter

– Your eyeballs feel like they are going to freeze.

– Everyone at work wears their winter jackets indoors, ALL DAY LONG.

– Three pairs of wool socks don’t cut it. You need fur lined boots.

– Sometimes when you pee, steam rises from the toilet bowl. (TMI, but I bet you didn’t think that was possible!)

– It looks like Siberia.

Korean countryside in winter

– I have to wear my touque, mittens, and scarf while I teach in class even though the heat is ‘ON’.

– Kids carry hot packs in their pockets to keep their hands warm.

– You can see your breath when you are INDOORS.

– You want to eat haejangguk every single night.

– Walking is more like ice-skating. He does it well. I don’t.

Sam in Korea during winter

– There are no snow-plows where I live, which means no one clears the snow. It simply accumulates and cars slide around at 15 km/hour.

– I wish I were six again so that I could wear snowpants.

– I got an electric blanket for Christmas and thought it was THE BEST present ever!

– It takes 2+ days for clothes to dry in the apartment.

– The sidewalks in rural areas aren’t salted or cleared, which means they look like this:

Sidewalk covered in ice in Korea

Teachers have blankets in the office that they use to cover their legs while they sit at their desks.

– I put off going to the supermarket even though my fridge is empty, because it’s just that cold!

– There is no hot water in most public bathrooms which means you just sprinkle some water on your hands for 3 seconds tops.

You probably think I’m exaggerating, I would too.

Except, I’m not.

Tell me, what’s winter like where you are?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob January 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Give me 30 Celcius any day. I’m no lover of cold winters.


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I feel the same way! I’d rather be sweating than shivering.


Vera January 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I was in Seoul in winter for one night a couple of years ago, and thought: “That’s odd!” when leaving the hotel for a little wonder. It had been snowing, but yeah, nobody had cleared the snow, and side-walks weren’t salted, either. I kinda slid along, thinking to myself that Koreans must probably have really cool shoes or something, because otherwise, getting from A to B would be a night-mare, right? But then I saw that EVERYONE was kinda sliding along… It was still nothing like what your last picture shows – that looks just… bonkers. I mean, what do you DO? Heartfelt compassion and respect. I found hot water bottles to be a good thing to have in these times!


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Sliding and balancing on that ice takes some skill! I’m continuously slipping around, but then I look around and people far older than I am are going about their daily business without a hassle… Hmmm…


Ashley January 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Your pee steams? And what does it feel like when your eyeballs ‘freeze’??
Sam’s family is so outdoorsy, Audrey!
Get ready 😉 Maybe i’ll join one of your cross-country skiing adventures in the future, mmm-kay?
Keep warm with your electric blanket, dont brig water near it!


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Yep, that goes to show how cold it is in the bathrooms. Still wanna visit!? 😉


The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) January 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I’ve been dealing with much the same here in China this winter, though I’m nice and cozy when I’m inside because they heat our apartment quite well … sometimes too well! But going to the grocery store? Forget it.


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm

You have heat!!! I envy you. Mine is broken so I’ve been spending every second at home with my electric blanket. 😉


The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) January 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm

🙁 Well, yes, we do have heat … but don’t be too jealous; we also have unconscionable levels of toxic smog.


Sofia January 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Haha wow that seems pretty crazy! I have nothing against winter, I love skiing and being in the mountains, but at least I know that I have a warm home to come back to 🙂


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm

A warm home to come back to helps. Bonus points if it has a crackling fireplace! 😉


Andrea January 29, 2013 at 12:52 am

We live in Norway so it’s pretty cold, though warmer here in Stavanger than most parts. A fellow expat said it best: you know you’re in Norway when you go outside at -5C and say, “Ah, what a warm night this is”


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Aghh, I don’t want to imagine what a chilly night in Stavanger feels like then. I would probably hibernate all winter long. 🙂


Cathy Sweeney January 29, 2013 at 8:55 am

I live in the San Francisco area now where winters are chilly and rainy, but I lived for many years in Chicago. I know what real winter is! I actually love winter weather — as long as I’m not living in it for several months. I like visiting wintry places and skiing, but it’s nice to come back home, too. I think the worst part of winter is the ice (like in your pic).


Audrey January 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Hehe, yep, that was some thick and slick ice! I’ve heard Chicago’s winters are pretty brutal, but I haven’t experienced one yet! (And for that I am thankful.) 😉


Stephanie - The Travel Chica January 30, 2013 at 9:01 am

I just wrote about the few things I like about Winter in Ohio. I’m enduring this year. If I’m doing Winter, I want it to be somewhere with real snow, so I can at least do fun stuff like snowboarding.


Dean January 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I know this won’t make you feel better, but it’s so hot and humid here in Queensland, Australia that I wake up with my pillow pasted to my head from all the sweat.


Vi January 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

You need ice skates to “walk” on such sideways 😀


Kerri February 2, 2013 at 12:54 am

Living in England, we don’t really get extreme winters, we just get A LOT of rain! When it does snow though, the country goes into meltdown. We have gritters for the main roads, but that’s about it – the small roads near your house turn into death traps and the pavements just turn into ice skating rinks once all the snow is compacted!


Marilyn December 22, 2013 at 12:24 am

In Northern Ontario Canada the average winter temp. is approx. -25 but does go down to -40 a t least once every two wks


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