It’s late November, sunsets are at 4:30, and it’s easier for me to see my breath than a reason to get up on 35-degree mornings. Fortunately, my 9:00 was cancelled this morning, and I stayed in bed until the sunlight peeking through my window had warmed my room just a little more. The temperature filter on Snapchat told me that it was a toasty 45 degrees.
I reached into my coat the other day and found a folded-up flyer printed in Japanese, because the last time I wore a coat was on my field study to Japan last year. Even on the coldest of days in Florida, I could just throw a hoodie over my t-shirt and be fine. Today I wore a hoodie over a flannel over a t-shirt over a long-sleeved shirt, with a scarf. Needless to say, I’m still learning how to dress for this weather, because I really should have just grabbed the coat again.
Lancaster, despite being so cold all the time, is so close to the sea that snow rarely forms. Locals have told us that occasionally, there will be a little snowfall, but it’s a rare event. But the word of people who have lived in this city all their life didn’t stop this visiting student from excitedly running outside at 2:30 AM in a t-shirt and jeans on election night when my weather app read “Snow.” It was not snow.
“This is sleet!” I yelled back into Micah’s window while nature’s equivalent to a flavorless Slurpee covered my exposed arms. That semi-icy experience taught me to always wear at least two layers while walking outside, even if it’s just to go to the vending machine.
The rain has been another struggle I’m learning to cope with. Well, okay, not the “rain” – it only seems to drizzle here and there, which, though it makes everything wet and cold, isn’t the worst – it’s the hail.
Though rarely bigger than the size of a pea, the hail hurts if it hits any bit of exposed skin just right – therefore, scarf, all the time, always.
Extra cold out? Scarf.
Sky gray? Scarf.
Sky blue? Scarf.
The scarf protects, the scarf warms, the scarf loves.
Much like at Rollins, class attendance seems to depend on the weather. When a Floridian downpour suddenly starts up at 1:45 PM on a Tuesday, Orlando Hall isn’t going to be as filled with students as it should be by 2:00. If it’s drizzling before my 5:00 class here, when it’s already pitch-black and freezing outside, the lecture hall is going to have some open seats. Since there’s so little going on outside of class, though, I’m more than happy to walk through whatever weather seems to be falling from the sky on any given occasion to get to class.
In the end, that’s the major upside to all of the iciness – I am extremely glad that one day I will be able to tell my children that in my semester abroad, I had to walk half a mile to class in the freezing cold while being pelted with pea-sized spheres of hail.