Mommy, why doesn’t the sun work anymore? This is the question I would be asking my mother if I were four years old and forced to reside in this kind of weather. I am perplexed at how you natives of the North can stand it. I know some of you have fond memories of missing school because of snow days and remember those adorable snowball fights, but don’t you realize that the Eighth Amendment forbids “cruel and unusual punishment?” I can safely say that my walk from a classroom in White Gravenor back to Harbin was the absolute worst torture I have had to endure in my 18 years on this Earth, ever since I was forced to “analyze” James Joyce (as if analyzing any of his works is even humanly possible). It has dipped down to the low 40s outside and unfortunately, I have been hearing nasty rumors circulating about the temperature dropping more as we near the end of the year. Those rumors aren’t true . right?

Hopefully not, because it seems that every time I tell a person that I have never seen or touched snow in my life, they react as if I just told them I have never watched “Friends” or “The Real World.” Their faces distort in shock for a second, they stutter out a “Really?” and then, slowly, a look of comprehension dawns over their face as if they are thinking, “I’ve heard of people like this guy before but I always thought they were myths like Santa Claus or understanding James Joyce.” Then one of two things happen: I am either assured that it doesn’t snow much in D.C. or I get a mocking “you better prepare yourself Miami boy!” – neither of which gives me much assurance at all. I came to Georgetown to better myself for society; as a floormate of mine frankly puts it, “I’m not sure, but I don’t remember checking igloo on my dorm request.”

In any case, people that have led snow-less lives like mine are not a myth. I was born in the sunny month of July, have lived in sunny south Florida all my life and am a loyal drinker of Sunny Delight. My body, like yours, sustains a steamy temperature of 98.6 degrees, and that makes us healthy. Therefore, how in the freezing hell is anything below 70 degrees remotely healthy? I have endured the slow but steady drop in warmth that has occurred since those delightful 90-degree days that welcomed me when I arrived, but things are getting serious now. I feel the same way Dorothy did when she left her gray Kansas home and found herself in Technicolor Oz. The only difference is that I left the Technicolor world of iami behind for the freezing gray District (I still love this place, mind you, so no hate mail, please). During a walk back to Harbin, I was wearing my reliable winter coat, which I have always felt comfortable wearing whenever cold fronts passed through back home (yes, it gets cold in December there too) but this time I was betrayed. Not only were my fingers cold, but I could also feel individual nerve endings turning into icicles, and believe me, that did not feel good.

In fact, we have officially left comfortable sweater weather and seem to be entering the bearskin-coat phase. Now don’t get me wrong, I like bears and I like coats, and I’ll even admit I have no problem with phases – the moon has them all the time – but there should be no reason for me to ever have to put those three words together. Bears are for dolls, football and Piglet. And the cold is for penguins, Canadians and Jaromir Jagr. If nature followed this simple logic, then I would not be in this mess right now.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of cold that the warmth of my friends or the love of learning will make me forget about. There’s no way that will happen. Every time I look out the window, go to a class, stub my toe or watch football, it will be in the back of my mind taunting and ridiculing my inadequate winter clothing. And the sad thing is, I can’t control the weather, so there’s nothing I can do about it. Except hibernate – which I find to be the closest thing to actually getting myself a bearskin coat. It seems to me that the only thing I can do for the next two months is set the thermostat to 85 degrees, lock the door and stay there until March. I’ll even curl up and read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. According to the critics, it’s a very good read. That may sound like a bleak solution – and it is. The alternative of going outside, however, is much bleaker for the time being.

Chenel Josephat is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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