Thursday, April 03, 2008

Season Schitzophrenia

One more silly China quirk is the winter heating system, which is strictly and universally determined (aka turned on and off) by the government. Somehow, somebody important decided that winter kicks in on November 15 and abruptly ends March 15 (even in Northern China!), leaving Tianjin homes freezing for a month before and after. (I feel bad for the folks up in Harbin!) Because the heating is centralized, you can't control the temperature at all; we often found it was too hot in the middle of January and had to open the windows to manage the situation. Ironically, now that winter is "over," we've traded in our comfortable gym shorts and tees for sweaters and ultra-thick thermals. Thanks for that hot chocolate, fam! We were too roasty to use it in the winter but it's warming us up nicely now that it sometimes gets up to 60 degrees outside in the sun, but unfortunately remains much colder indoors.

A similar attitude (ignoring actual weather patterns with an arbitrary standard) was first demonstrated to us around October 1st when all of a sudden it was "the cold season," and therefore it was coat-weather regardless of the temperature. Chinese masses criticized us daily for only giving our children two layers of clothing, since summer had technically terminated. They didn't seem to notice the sweat beads accumulated on Didi's head. (This practice still continues today; our favorites are when people scold us for under-dressing our kids as they ride by on bikes, or there's the infamous roll-down-the-car-window tactic, in which we are sometimes labeled as 'unfit parents' as the strangers drive off into the horizon... )


blaine and michelle said...

hot that looks good. I'm sorry you're freezing, all the more reason to come visit me! I think it's so funny about the natives and the layers of clothing. I would be a HORRIBLE parent, as both of mine are in onesies only at the moment.

Emily said...

I can comment on your blog! I'm not going to miss the Great Firewall of China, Yippie!!! We made it home safely after having a really, really long Thursday. Seriously the longest day of my life! It's good to be home, but we're already missing Tianjin and you four. I hope you guys had a great time at Ancient Culture Street with Olsen. Peace out!

Kristin said...

My favorite "unfit parent" experience was when I was chided at length for not having socks on my baby in a Houston grocery store. Houston, which thinks 60-degree weather is the depths of winter. ...Maybe Christie could offer some hints on how people living there might lose all sense of true temperature? (Though to be fair, I suppose INside a grocery store in Houston may be sock-worthy, at least in the refrigerated aisle, but I don't recall that it was particularly cold there either.) Anyway, good for you for knowing when your mommy insticts are right and sticking to your guns. Sorry for the long comment, but it's the only way I really get to talk to you all!