It’s no secret that I hate the winter.  December gets a pass because of the lead-up to Christmas, but I hate January and February with a passion that could probably power our car if we could figure out a way to harness it.  I hate driving in it, I hate walking in it, I hate dashing from the house to the car to wherever I’m heading then back to the car and back to the house.  I hate skiing and skating and snowboarding and tobogganing and I hate how people tell me I would learn to love the winter if I could learn to love one of its many enjoyable pastimes.

I hate the whole process of getting dressed to go outside and then getting undressed to be inside and how many layers do I need, will I be too cold in the car or too hot when I get there, why are my socks wet again, where are my freaking mittens and then *kaboom* my head has exploded from the coldness and awfulness and neverendingness of it all.

When we were in Australia, we spent a week with Mike’s aunt & uncle.  They live in a part of the country that does get “winter” but I do mean that with everything implied by those quotation marks.  One night while we were eating dinner, conversation turned to how we survive the long Canadian winters and, specifically, how we survive driving in the snow.  I remarked that just about everyone has at least one story of a near miss while driving in bad weather, an example of a time when their car hit a pole or spun 360 degrees or slid through a busy intersection.

Throughout the conversation, they seemed … well, mystified seems to be the best word to use.  Mystified about how we deal with winter and, more importantly, why we deal with winter.  They have been to Canada, seen how lovely it is in the summer and fall, enjoyed many things our great nation has to offer, and still couldn’t seem to figure out why on earth we would put up with months and months of everything winter entails when there are other countries out there that are very similar to ours but that enjoy more moderate temperatures year round.

And, you know, I can’t explain it but I felt compelled to defend my poor winter-stricken, snow-covered country.  I don’t think I did (at least not very coherently) because the fact is they’re not wrong, and I’d be lying if I said it had never crossed my mind to pack up my actuary and my laptop and move somewhere more temperate (or even tropical) but the thing about Canada is this:  it contains everyone and everything I love.  Some might say I lack a sense of adventure, but I just can’t fathom picking up my life and putting it down in a strange country, even if that country is averaging plus 22 degrees rather than negative 22 degrees right now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go make some hot chocolate and pray for June.