If anyone had told me when I landed at Humid TF Green Airport back in June, that I would experience six months of winter I would have laughed in their face. Like any good millennial, I had been forewarned about these freezing conditions and of course chose to ignore them. Don’t get me wrong, I did predict the cold, but what was to come was beyond my imagination.
In Scotland, we frequently talk about the weather and tea. In the US we talk about the weather and politics. I tend to close in on the former purely based on my IQ levels in comparison to my colleagues. Anyways, like I was saying I had no idea what to expect. My colleagues in the office had forewarned me about the harsh conditions of the Massachusetts winter. Additionally, this was not their first, nor their last winter here, so it was something that they were used to. Honestly though, I didn’t think it would be that bad.
“Oh just wait for January”. They would say.
It felt like a scene from Game of thrones. Winter was coming, but I wasn’t scared. I mean come on? I’m Scottish.
In my life I have fortunate enough to have never truly faced a near death experience. I mean yes there has been close calls in the car and times were I thought turbulence seemed a bit too extreme, but luckily for me, I seem to have done okay so far.
Remember in friends when Ross thinks Joey saves his life by shielding him from a bullet, when in reality, like any normal human Joey is protecting his meatball sandwich. All in which was pointless as it wasn’t really a real shotgun? Well on one occasion Boston winter gave me a Ross like new lease of life that made want to appreciate the world and remember to buy stamps.
When returning from my trip in Glasgow over the Christmas period I checked the weather in the airport to see the temperatures I was arriving in. Minus seventeen Celsius. I laughed about it, thinking damn that is cold, but in essence it was nothing I had ever experienced before. I know as a scot we tend to complain about the weather a lot, but in fact our weather really isn’t that bad. This temperature was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
I got off the train with my flat mate Robbie to walk back to our apartment. This was an eight minute walk that I had done numerous times before, a few months earlier in shorts and a t-shirt. This time round, I had a warm jacket on, long trousers and a jumper. So no, I wasn’t a standard girl in Glasgow on a Saturday night wearing so little you couldn’t even dry your dishes with it. The reality was, this was just seriously cold.
In Boston you get the weather prediction and then you get the ‘feels like’ weather prediction. This I because we get an artic wind that comes down from Canada which makes it feel even colder. So when I say minus seventeen, we had wind hitting us in our bare faces at minus twenty five. Call me dramatic, but that was fucking cold.
Anyway, as I pulled my bag through the snow with no gloves, I slowly started to lose feeling in my hands. You know when you sit on your leg in a weird way for too long and you get pins and needles and have to walk it off to gain feeling. Well I was moving my hands and getting nothing. My ears started to burn and slowly every part of my body started to ache. It was like I had just finished a leg session and was trying to walk down ten flights of stairs.
Half way through the walk (4 minutes in) we had to stop. You would think we would just try and rush home to get inside, but we couldn’t move at any speed at all. It was just that cold. As we amped each other up with no hint of the usual humour, we went again. 4 minutes later, or what felt like 4 hours, we arrived at the stairs of our flat. Bear in mind, I couldn’t feel my hands, so when I tried to open the front door, it just wouldn’t happen. I first I blamed it on the lock freezing over, when in reality, I just couldn’t open it. I could feel my eyes start to well up. I was freezing, I thought I was dying and I couldn’t open the door.
Eventually we got in.
As we hadn’t been in the flat for ten days, there was no heating on, or any even a hint of warmth. Robbie went straight for the tap and put his hands under the hot water. I can’t even begin to imagine how sore that was. I held my hands under my arms while I laughed at the pain of the pins and needles throughout my whole body. Agonisingly funny stuff.
That night I wore, joggers, my PJ bottoms, two t-shirts, a jumper, a hoodie and a hat to bed. It was a sleepless night with the cold of the flat. No matter what you wore, it never seemed to never heat you up. They say when you’re cold you should take off all your clothes to gain body heat and cuddle up with someone else. As I looked at my flat mate in disbelief at the situation, weighing up my options of warmth, I decided I didn’t really need my 4th and 5th toes that much.
At that time, I honestly didn’t think it could get much worse and in retrospect, it probably didn’t. However, I was completely unaware that these chilling conditions that hit us out of the blue after a 28 Celsius day, would haunt me for six months. That night taught me a lot about how little I appreciate the cool temperatures of Scotland, the car I have at home to get me from A to B and most importantly though, the heating my parents pay for.
If anyone is thinking of coming the east coast I strongly recommend it. Especially Boston. The city is bustling with things to do and things to see. It’s a beautiful place with so much history and architecture. However, please don’t be a complete idiot.
Come in the summer.