I shouldn’t even be writing this post. So far, according to reliable sources (i.e. everyone I speak to that has lived in the Netherlands for more than two years) the 2013/2014 winter has basically been an extension of autumn. And to be fair, this time last year when I was in The Hague, I waded through epic amounts of snow due to the fact that the trams had stopped running because of the inclement weather. It hasn’t snowed yet this year.
This has spurned memes such as the following:
As an aside: Game of Thrones Season 4: bring on April!
However, I would like everyone to bear in mind that I come from Australia. And that means that I insist on exercising my right to do two things: consider anything below 10 degrees as unbearably cold, and complain incessantly over mild irritations.
Seeing as I can’t complain (yet) about frostbite, snow-induced blindness, disrupted transport or the inability to maintain circulation to my extremities, I’m going to provide a list of all the other ways winter in Holland is endangering my life and happiness.
1. Ice cream headaches.
Everyone knows what these are. The excruciating* pain that occurs when you’ve chowed down some ice cream a little to quickly and part of your brain decides to freeze. These have become a daily occurrence upon venturing outside. Even though it might be 3 degrees outside, the ever present wind blowing off the North Sea creates a wind chill factor that takes the felt temperature down to about -5. I have had the misfortune of discovering that ice cream headaches can occur not only in the region of the frontal lobe, but indeed under the chin as well. Yes. That happened.
* relatively mild
2. Goddamn wind.
Not only is this just a general annoyance, but it can be downright dangerous. For those of us who don’t have great bike control skills. A sudden blast not only threatens to topple one off the magical moving machine into a heap of humiliation, but also sometimes comes perilously close to forcing one into the path of oncoming traffic. That’s right people, I battle the elements and metal capsules of speeding death (commonly referred to as cars) every time I go to school. Don’t tell me I don’t live on the wild side.
3. Impaired vision.
Sometimes it’s not entirely the wind’s fault that I come close to a brief and tumultuous relationship with oncoming traffic. In order to protect delicate ears and eyes from the cruel bite of the wind, the general fashion in The Hague is to wear giant puffy jackets with fur-lined hoods. Yes, I own one. These eskimo jackets, however, have one structural flaw. Unless you possess a ginormous, misshaped skull, when you turn your head to look in other directions, the hood stays stationary. You lose all peripheral vision, which while giving an interesting insight into what it would be like to be male, does not give helpful insights into the likelihood of dying while crossing the road.
No, not the strange urge to watch bad ’90s kids movies due to Vitamin D deficiency. I mean body flubber. Why eat salad when it’s cold? It’s burger and chips weather people. Why move unnecessarily when you can stay in bed? Why go to the gym when it involves leaving the house? Crazy talk. And don’t worry, you can hide your new brick inspired body shape with your hideous Hague jacket. Nobody will ever know.
5. Slippery dips.
Slippery dips, also known as roads, make every day an adventure. Today, after the frost had melted with the help of some salt, I was furiously riding my bike to class, running late as usual. I was about to turn a corner, indicating and looking behind me to check if there were any crazy scooter people likely to whack into me, when all of a sudden I was no longer riding my bike in a vertical manner, but attempting to do so in a horizontal manner. A word to the wise: this is not an efficient method of transport. Keep the bike upright. I sustained a handle-bar to the armpit, which is not particularly comfortable, and my knee now looks as if it is made of grated beetroot.
Winter: 1 B: 0.
Well played, Europe, well played.