A Californian’s Guide to Real Winter

Welcome to Iowa City, the city where seasons actually happen.

As a new Iowa resident, I find that I have to repeatedly remind myself that I am not in California anymore. This means that winter is no longer a low of 48°F. My winter attire is no longer a crop top paired with a jacket, jeans and Vans and rain is not my biggest winter enemy.

In Iowa, the winter weather low is negative double digit numbers. Winter attire consists of snow boots, warm pants, a many layers of long sleeved items, scarfs, and gloves.

And my new biggest fear is now: ice. Except my good friend Amadou, an Iowa City life long resident, has taught me a valuable life lesson: ice senses fear. If you are walking gingerly trying not to slip, you will slip. Whereas, if you walk confidently with a proper ice gait, you will not fall. You will conquer the ice. Once you conquer the art of ice-walking, you will feel as if you are Jesus walking on water. You will feel powerful seeing your new found balance while others around you fall. (Maybe its my impeccable ice walking that has prevented me from falling or maybe its just my snow boots with powerful rubber grip.)

Anyways, to all my fellow warm-weather year round people, this post is for you. As a winter beginner, I believe that it is my job to help other future winter rookies survive this cold era. Enjoy my guide!

Mari’s Winter Guide:

  1. Ice senses fear: Walk confidently. Maintain your balance. Don’t drag your feet while walking. Pick up those feet. Knees to chest. Knees to chest. You’re not scared of ice, ice is scared of you!
  2. Layers, layers, baby: Your parents have taught you well, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Especially when it’s cold out. If you get warm, just take a layer off, but if you get cold and don’t have an extra layer to wear: K.O., honey. Winter: 1, You: 0.
  3. Snow may be white, but it’s not pure: Looking out the window the snow may look pacific and pure, but just wait until you are walking to class at 8am and the snow is slamming into your face.
  4. Avoid walking next to the Iowa River at all costs: Wind grazing over cold water and hitting you will feel like hypothermia. I don’t know what hypothermia feels like, but I’m guessing walking next to the Iowa River is it.
  5. Holding that coffee in your hand while walking through the snow is not as cute as Gossip Girl makes it seem: Drink your coffee indoors. You’ll thank yourself when you have your hands in your pockets and not out in the cold holding a cup of coffee.
  6. Don’t wear white shoes: The snow may be white, but slush and mud are everywhere. Those white shoes will end up looking like tail gating shoes by the end of the day.
  7. Remind yourself that spring will come soon… Even if it seems like it’ll be cold forever. 

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