Before moving to Nashville in the USA, I experienced the coldest natural temperature in Baguio City and Tagaytay City during the month of January. It must have been 14 degrees Celsius, which is about 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A lot of Americans would probably say that that is great temperature!
But for Filipinos, that’s sweater weather! It’s great to huddle inside the home and sip a good cup of Kalinga brew.
When we came to Nashville, though, I realized that 14 Celsius or 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit is nothing compared to the cold winter here. I mean Nashville is located somewhere in the Southeastern part of the continental USA. It doesn’t get too cold compared to the Midwest and Northern cities and states such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Wisconsin. But it still gets cold.
Heck, our Filipino bones can get frozen below 10 degrees Celsius.
Here’s what winter is like in Nashville.
“Kalbo” – The trees lose their leaves.
They begin losing their leaves in Autumn and they lose almost all of it right before November ends. If you’re feeling poetic or sentimental, the branches of the trees sometimes look like fingers of upturned hands praying for the return of life and greenery. No wonder those pagan Greeks thought Persephone, the goddess of spring had gone down in Hades’ kingdom in the underworld.
The sun rises late in the morning and sets early in the afternoon.
Generally, people get less sun during the winter. The sun doesn’t rise until about 7:00 in the morning, and would set at about 4:00 in the afternoon. People’s moods are actually affected during this time and they get SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, and yes, that’s a real type of depression. Some people use a kind of light therapy to avoid being sad all the time.
It’s cold. Really cold!
On the first week of January, our temperatures in Nashville plunged to 10 degrees Fahrenheit with real feel of 1 degree! That’s about -12 degree Celsius, below freezing point. It was cold! Even inside our home. Thankfully, we had heater. I don’t know how people survived harsh winters before the invention of air conditioning and heating!
Because of the cold, we didn’t really want to go outside unless we had to. On our first winter in the USA, though, we spent our New Year’s celebration in Chattanooga, which is a 2-hour drive away from Nashville. We didn’t mind it all that much because we were indoors most of the time and it wasn’t too cold then.
We get some snow, sometimes a lot of snow!
Before coming to the USA, I dreamed of experiencing snow. All those years growing up while listening to songs like “White Christmas” during the holidays made me want to experience it.
But wanting and longing for it is definitely different from experiencing it. A little bit of snow is fine, as long as you’re somewhere dry and you have heater. But if you have to go out, ugh. Nope.
A friend of mine is in Alaska, another is in Canada. The winters there are really harsh and bitter cold! Imagine living in your freezer for at least 2 months. Imagine the snow coming regularly every week. Ugh. I don’t envy them. I am glad that we are in a city in the US that doesn’t get a lot of snow.
When the occasional snow dump comes, though, we enjoy it. The first time we saw snow fall on the ground outside of our apartment, well, we bundled up, went out, and built an snow-kid, or more a snow-toddler. It was not a snowman. It was too short.
Because of the snow, we sometimes have an opportunity to play, sled down a hill, and just goof around. Here’s a video of us doing just that in early January.
A day later, though, I got colds and cough. Ugh. Going out in the snow is probably not very good for me.
Dry skin. Lots of static electricity.
The thing I hate about winter is that I have to apply lotion and moisturizer all over my body. I didn’t do that very much back in the Philippines. But here in Nashville, I had to. The alternative was dry skin that could easily get cut. I’ve also gotten a lot of papercuts during the winter.
The other thing I hate about winter is static electricity. I don’t really know what causes this. But when it’s cold, when the heater is running, and I wear a lot of wool or some other type of clothing, it generates static electricity in my body. When I touch metal, you know like body of my car, or a door knob; or even when I touch the skin of another person, I get a jolt of electricity! Ugh.
In spite of this, I like being in Nashville. The summer reminds me of the heat of the Philippines and at least for about 4 months, we get to enjoy a different kind of weather. Besides, it’s great to sip soup and coffee during the cold of winter.