Good evening, everyone! Happy Wednesday! I hope that you have been enjoying an awesome week so far. You are half way through it and going strong! Keep it up!
For Andy and I here in the north, our blizzard has finally settled down and the skies are clearing. I gotta say, though… I am really impressed with our town and how people have gone above and beyond to help their neighbors out. It is quite amazing really, considering the town we live in has been repeatedly ranked as one of Canada’s most violent cities and is also referred as the “Crime Capital of Canada.” The kindness and generosity of so many of our fellow northerners has been such an awesome reminder that often we judge books by their covers far too quickly. Indeed there are beautiful people in this world.
Well, this Whatever Wednesday I wanted to share with you just a few things I learned about snow and winter since moving to Canada and surviving my first full winter here! (Whew!) So buckle up and let’s do this (and please do not laugh too hard if some of these things are super obvious to you… Keep in mind that I am from Southern California where snow is generally non-existent).
- When I first came to Canada I noticed that a lot of vehicles had plugs attached to the front of their grill. I did not really know what they were for. I naively assumed that they must be electric cars and that the plugs were to charge the battery. As the weeks went on, I saw more and more cars with a plug, many of which were definitely NOT electric or hybrid vehicles. I eventually found out that the plugs were to warm the block heater by the car’s engine (or oil). In many parts of the country, failing to plug in your car overnight could result in trouble starting your car or a dead battery in the morning.
- Since moving here I have also learned a lot about tires. For example, Andy and I actually have two sets of tires for our car. One set is for the summer (known as “summer tires”) and the other set is for the winter (known as, yup you guessed it “winter tires”). The summer tires help us to get better gas milage because they do not need as much traction. While the winter tires are studded to help with traction on snow and ice. The need for multiple sets of tires is not something I really understood until I moved here, though. So many tires, so little time.
- There are also various types of snow, which is something I had no idea about. I just thought “snow is snow” but not necessarily. There is wet snow and dry, powdery snow. Wet snow is not much fun to be in, but dry snow is perfect for basically all winter activities. Additionally, sleet, hail, and ice pellets are also very real as well. Lastly, there is something known as freezing rain (which I have come to think is the worst thing in the entire world). It comes down from the sky as rain but freezes as soon as it hits something, leaving you with cars and roads completely covered in ice! Craziness, I tell you.
- I also learned about ice roads. No, they are not just real on episodes of Ice Road Truckers, but are actually extremely important to communities here in the north that have no permanent road access. They reduce transportation costs for communities and make the transportation of extremely large or heavy objects possible. Here, they are most commonly built on frozen lakes and rivers because they are naturally smooth, require no clearing of trees and require minimal road preparation/maintenance.*
- Lastly, I just recently learned what a blizzard actually is. According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard is categorized by sustained wind or frequent gusts of 56 km/hr (35 miles/hr) and considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile (both for a period of 3 hours or longer). And yes, that was definitely what we experienced over the last couple of days. 80 centimeters of snow later, though, we have blue skies again! Hooray!
Well, I hope that you have enjoyed this (either because you were giggling at my naiveness or because you learned something new too)! If you moved to a new climate or studied abroad for a while, what is something new you learned during your first bit of time there? Please feel completely at home to comment below! And, as always, have a beautiful evening! 🙂