We can’t see our breath inside the apartment anymore!! Oh, wait. Just kidding.

17 Apr
Winter 2012.  I like the haze that accompanied this snow.  (We were snowed in for 3 days.)

Winter 2012. I like the haze that accompanied this snow. (We were snowed in for 3 days.)

Winter 2012.  We got 5 inches in the heaviest snow.

Winter 2012. We got 5 inches in the heaviest snow.

Poppies at the dawning of Spring 2012.

Poppies at the dawning of Spring 2012.

Yeah, so we thought that Jordan’s endless winter for 2012/2013 was over.  I even packed up most of our cold-weather clothing last weekend — partly because our little closet was overflowing with garments and partly in preparation for moving back to the U.S. in 10 weeks or so.

I wouldn’t say that celebrating coming of spring was premature because it has been very pleasant for the past 3 weeks.  The grass is the greenest it’s going to be all year.  Little red poppies and purple stems of lavender have filled in the sporadic parts of earth that haven’t been paved over or covered with mismatching sidewalk tiles.  Phillip and I even complained of “being hot” a couple of times after walking to and fro from home to CGE/UJ campus. For those who have not experienced a Jordanian winter (more specifically, an Amman winter on the highest hills of Jubeiha which is where our neck of the woods has been), you cannot fully appreciate what I am about to describe (so basically, I mean probably the majority of you reading this except Brittany Barber who braved (and survived!) January/February 2012 with us).

Winter 2012 with Brittany Barber, our Atlanta friend who came to visit & teach English for 6 weeks.  We had unplanned twin outfits for staying warm in the evenings.

Winter 2012 with Brittany Barber, our Atlanta friend who came to visit & teach English for 6 weeks. We had unplanned twin outfits for staying warm in the evenings.

What does wintertime in Jordan mean to me?

(1) Frigid, paralyzing coldness.

(2) Frigid, paralyzing coldness day and night (at least when you’re at home with no central heat).

(3) Frigid, paralyzing coldness day and night that will last from the end of October through the beginning of March.

(4) Going to bed is painful because the sheets are room temperature (i.e., fluctuating in the 40s, Fahrenheit).

(5) Consuming hundreds of bags of tea (mostly decaffeinated for health reasons, of course).

(6) Wearing the same clothes (or at least my leggings & undershirt tank top) for up to 4 days in a row because it’s just to darn cold to change clothes completely.  Hey, body heat keeps clothes warm.  The ones in the closet might as well be sitting in the fridge.

Winter 2013.  Albeit an unattractive angle, this photo represents the layers of clothing I wore to sit around the house, yes, *INSIDE AT HOME*, in order to retain body heat.

Winter 2013. Albeit an unattractive angle, this photo represents the layers of clothing I wore to sit around the house, yes, *INSIDE AT HOME*, in order to retain body heat.

(7) Mold growing in, on, and through the cinder-block walls and along the rubber window seals.  Spray bottle filled with 1/2 water + 1/2 Clorox = effective.

(8) Water conservation!  (again, because the bathroom where I would take a shower is also 40-something degrees)

(9) A higher electric bill — we used an electric space heater this past winter.  My favorite way to enjoy its heat was to bundle up on the couch next to Phillip with a cup of that decaffeinated tea in hand, turn it to the “burn 3 of the 4 elements” setting, and roll it about 5 inches away from my legs.  The only reason I didn’t turn it to the 4th setting was because I was afraid it would actually catch our clothes on fire.  That little booger could throw out some heat.

Winter 2013.  Phillip demonstrates our nightly "perch" with feet propped up to the electric space heater.  Notice, this must've been late winter because there's only one heated element on.

Winter 2013. Phillip demonstrates our nightly “perch” with feet propped up to the electric space heater. Notice, this must’ve been late winter because there’s only one heated element on.

(10) An occasional carbon-monoxide (or is it dioxide?  I always get those confused.) poisoning scare.  Our first winter here, we used a methane-gas space heater.  It made the room generally a great deal warmer than the electric one, but we got freaked out and stopped using it altogether after the wee-morning hours one day in January 2012.  We had used the heater 8 hours or so the day before — always with ventilation, of course; my dad has been a fireman for 15+ years, so fire safety is well engrained in me.  Then, we turned it off, and went to bed.  Forty-five minutes or so later, our carbon-?-oxide detecter beamed in a computerized voice, “Carbon-?-oxide poisoning.  EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.”  I do believe it was below freezing outside, but that didn’t stop Phillip from catapulting out of bed and opening *every* door and window in the house.  I did not truly know what it was to be cold until that night.

(11) Putting lots of mileage on the Wal-Mart hoodies that I swiped from my Dad’s closet last summer.  And yes, I do wear the hoodie with the drawstring tightly pulled.  (Thanks, Dad :)

Winter 2012.  My great-granny's apple pies in Amman, Jordan!  There's not much to do but eat when you're stuck inside for 5+ months.  What better food?

Winter 2012. My great-granny’s apple pies in Amman, Jordan! There’s not much to do but eat when you’re stuck inside for 5+ months. What better food?

(12) Seeing your breath throughout the house.

Number 12 is especially noticable at night.  Many evenings these past two winters, Phillip and I would burrito-wrap ourselves in 3-4 layers of clothes and then with felt blankets before getting under our 5 layers of bedding and covers.  Then, we’d turn out the lights and watch our smoke-like breath rise into the darkness by the light of Phillip’s ipod.  Our family and friends could also see our breath via skype.  It was powerfully visible.  And freakin’ COLD!!

Now with these details to fill in your mental images of “a day in the life of a Jordanian winter,” you can better empathize with my appreciation for the coming of spring!  Once or twice now I have tried to wear short sleeves at home but have ended up grabbing one of my two $5 Old Navy faux-fleece jackets.  (Best 10 bucks I’ve spent in 2 years, really.)

I do feel like we are making progress here towards continuously warmer weather, but we’re not quite through with chilly evenings, one of which — just a day or two ago — gave us the opportunity to see our breath inside just one more time.

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2 Responses to “We can’t see our breath inside the apartment anymore!! Oh, wait. Just kidding.”

  1. Sharon Dyar April 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    I have on shorts and a little air is blowing from AC, but after reading this I need a snuggy, and gloves. I am so cold:) You will be warm again when you get to Texas!

  2. Tasha Fay April 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Very well illustrated!! All of this is so true! I would add holding your pee too long just because you don’t want the cold to touch your backside and nights of hot water bottles to defrost your feet so you can actually fall asleep. And people wondered why I couldn’t study at home.

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