I’m FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZING and I’m totally sick of it. I am irrationally angry. I hate feeling cold. Hate it. To some extent, I feel as though my entire trip has been an exercise in temperature management.

  • In Ohio it was freezing as soon as we stepped out of the car on September 30th (that means that I’ve been in winter weather since September 30th . . . I live in Atlanta . . . so that’s just not right). It was really cold my entire time there and since I was staying with people who tend to run hotter than I do, the heat was understandably set for their comfort, not mine.
  • In London, the hostels generally didn’t run their heat during the day and then cranked it up to sweaty proportions at night. The fact that the first hostel had no hot water in the shower was just an extra icy bonus. Days that are dark by 4:00 p.m. also tend to put a chill in your bones.
  • In France it was freezing, super-windy, snowing and raining the entire time. I was staying in an old stone house that had been empty for a couple of months, so it was an icebox for the first three days. And even then, I was, again, not in charge of the temperature. I sat directly next to a space heater most of the time I was working and directly next to the fireplace the rest of the time.
  • In Spain, the weather outside got a lot better (temperatures more comparable to Atlanta in the winter), but the problem, there, was no central heating. So, either a whole house was being heated by a wood-burning fireplace or one space heater. SO not enough for me. Again, I found myself cuddled up to a space heater (and wrapped up in a blanket for all of my working hours. I learned from my friend Melissa that if you open the windows during the day (when the outside temps are warmer), the house actually stays (a little) warmer at night. It’s really hard to believe that — when sitting in your living room, freezing — you should open the windows, but she was right. (Though, I didn’t actually do it until two weeks in.) While this method helps, you then have another interesting activity to keep you warm — chasing around all of the flies that came in while your non-screened windows were open all day.
  • Athens was pretty good, only my first night was super cold, but then the radiators kicked in and it was much more tolerable the rest of the week.
  • In Crete, I had the same problem of staying in a home (built for the summer) that didn’t have central heat. So, the whole apartment had to be heated by one window unit. For the first few days, the wood burning stove was working and I was able to get comfortable by burning a fire all day long. Then, something broke and I was stuck in the cold the rest of the time. My windows face north, so there was very little direct sunshine to help out. And, no space heater. So, I had to double up on socks (and wear my shoes inside), wear multiple layers (which most times included a hat and a scarf), and cover up with a blanket. All this while trying to get work done. Not fun. (And, frankly, I was STILL cold.)
  • Rome has been fine in terms of my hotel room, BUT the wi-fi isn’t working, so to work I have to spend a lot of time at the cafe downstairs. Of course, the cafe is FREEZING (regardless of how much coffee I drink). They keep the door propped open most of the time and even sitting in a back corner doesn’t save me. (Side note: it is way too cold outside to keep a door propped open. It’s warm enough to walk around with your coat and gloves on, but not warm enough to stand around listening to a tour guide or sitting outside at a cafe.)

Now, before you think that I’m just one of those super-cold people . . . I AM NOT.  I (maybe delusionally) consider myself in the “normal” range.  I have come to this conclusion because I know a lot of people who are hot when I’m comfortable and a lot of people who are cold when I’m comfortable. (That puts me in the middle . . . normal . . . right?) But, the truth is, I spend a lot of time working in front of my computer. Sitting there, not moving, not building heat. Since this is how I pay the bills, I don’t have much choice in the matter. I need to be comfortable while sitting still for long periods of time. I learned from Leesteffy in France, that multiple layers and a hat go a long way to help you stay warm (though, this doesn’t help my hands which need to be out, bare, and WORKING). But, you know what? Wearing many many layers is not an acceptable way of life for me. It’s confining and weighty and frustrating. I don’t like it.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of my surprise has come about because during this past summer (when I was planning this trip), there were 45 days above 90 degrees in Atlanta (this was a record, as the average Atlanta summer has about 22 90+ days). Clearly, I over estimated my ability to handle traveling in the cold. “OMG, it will be so rad to wear sweaters and boots and scarves!” Um, it turns out, NO. (Not for this long and without central heat.) There are people who really like the cold. And, then there are people who want to punch cold in the face. Dear Summer, I miss you desperately. Hope to see you soon.