When I moved to Belgium, I thought that I was really prepared for the winter but honestly, when I look back today; I think that I had no idea!
The Cold Seasons in Kenya
I lived in Nairobi which is the capital city of Kenya. It is popularly known as the Green City in the sun. This city is warm most of the year and in the cold seasons, normally there is no snow, nor temperatures below 8 degrees.
As a matter of fact, I had no idea how it was like to walk on the snow etc. That was something that I had only watched in the movies.
Winter in Cape Town
In Cape Town, I had an experience of a winter with only cold temperatures and I had bought some jackets and boots. That apparently gave me some confidence of a warrior ready for war.
Also, I consoled myself that I was born in a region, where it is considerably quite cold compared to other regions in Kenya. Little did I know that the jackets, boots and the scarfs that I had, were not really adequate for a winter with heavy snow, ice accumulation, freezing temperatures and wind chills.
My Arrival in Belgium
When I arrived in Belgium, it was Summer.
In fact, the weather was as nice as in Kenya, but I had to get used to the longer days – sunset at 05.00 and sundown at 22.30.
The only issue was trying to catch some sleep while there was so much light outside.
The Belgian Winter
Not to mention, the drama started to unfold in the autumn season. Autumn marks the transition from Summer to Winter and and the temperature cools down considerably. At that point, I was already complaining of the cold.
During this season the deciduous trees lose their leaves, usually after turning yellow, red, or brown. I found that so beautiful and phenomenal and I took a lot of photos!
There is something beautiful about each season.
Back to my journey in the autumn, I had to buy heavy jackets because my jackets were not good enough. They were suitable maybe for an evening in the Summer.
The reality had started to check in. It was also another season of my life. I was officially an immigrant and everything was new to me.
On 21 December, the winter officially started; My first winter! …Oh My! My world literally turned upside down. My body could not stand the freezing temperatures. I felt like my brain was freezing. I didn’t want even to go outside.
Inside the buildings was not a problem because of the heating systems that people can choose from the gas and electricity.
The same way we enjoyed the long day light in the Summer, it was time to enjoy longer dark nights and shorter days in the Winter.
My Winter Lessons
I depended on my husband to learn the tricks of the season, after all he has experienced winter all his life.
I learnt also through my own mistakes but I think that experience can be a brutal teacher! For example when it was sunny, I wore a light jacket thinking that it was warm. You can imagine! I froze and I could not wait to get home. I also paid hard with an influenza which knocked me down for two weeks!
Winter had also a positive side of it. I found it romantic to see and to feel the snow falling down. I cannot get enough of it to date!
At that point I realized that I didn’t have the right shoes for the snow because the ground became so slippery. But guess what? It was already Winter Bargains! What a perfect timing!
Some tips for people planning to move or to visit Europe from the tropical climate regions during the winter season:
- Buy heavy and long jackets, good scarfs, gloves and winter boots
- Themo-clothes would be of some help too
- When you get inside a building, first thing first, remove your jacket
- An electronic blanket would be of great help to warm up your bed
- Drink more coffee or soup and it will keep you warm
- Do not focus on thinking about the cold
“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.”- Augustine
- A New Year, New Beginnings
- It’s That Time of the Year Again: Christmas!
- How to Save Money While Traveling
Enjoy your winter & remember to stay positive!
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