Winterizing our own way

Blog’s been down a couple of days.  I can legitimately blame the weather.

When the cloud cover is as thick as it has been, the satellite signal can’t get through (and the cell is extremely weak as well) and we are then left basically incommunicado.  But, to be honest, I don’t think it was the weather – not directly anyway.  I was just wondering about what to write.

You see, when winter sets in, activities diminish.  Fewer activities means fewer stories.  I don’t hurt myself as much for one thing.  Don’t build much.  Don’t fix much.  Less boating.  Don’t ‘mess’ with logs and wood as much.  And some of the activities we do are strictly indoor exercises. Thus the blog on cooking.

But, honestly, that one stretched the off-the-grid theme somewhat.  I know that. 

I am happy to stay indoors half the time.  I like to write.  I like to surf the net.  I like to read.  And I have a few minor chores that can be done indoors as well.  But Sal needs to be outside 80% of the time.

So, to some extent, we both struggle to stay outside as much as possible – she more than me – but that is easier, of course, when it is pleasant.  November, December, January and February are rarely pleasant and so, Sal, for one, is often outdoors in inclement weather.  It takes a real storm to drive her indoors.  She’s got a serious ‘outdoors’ streak in her.

I suspect her disdain for housework is somewhat related.  But I can’t say that. 

We are not alone.  As I’ve written before, the bulk of the community go into a winter mode.  Winter mode for most is just staying indoors.  H actually claims to hibernate, kinda.  He definitely sleeps more.  He stays in a lot.  He fattens up.

Many others do more socializing.  They go to town more.  Visit relatives.  Shop.

Others fly south.  Literally.  They go like the geese.  Our local yoga guru and his partner leave for points warm every year around now – the end of November, beginning of December.  And most of us will leave every other year at the very least.

The thing I find most interesting about that is that the median income out here is somewhere around $12k a year per person.  And yet, I would estimate that almost 10% of the population leaves for sunnier climes for at least a month each winter.

One fellow I know lives on much less than 12K and he goes south every year, as well.  Minimum: one month.  His thinking goes something like this: “I am poor, anyway.  May as well be poor in Mexico.  Mexicans are poor there and they do OK.  My only real financial challenge is to get there.” 

But he has been to Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Latin America and most of southern Europe. This year he plans on going to Florida.  Seems money is no object and neither is no money.  Off he goes!

But – get this! – more than just a few neighbours leave every winter to go do ‘good work’ overseas!  These people, themselves, are pretty bloody poor by any N. American standard but they go to India, Africa and even Tibet to help out in orphanages, hospitals and clinics. One self-described but unaffiliated Christian couple save what meagre monies they can every year and then go to the poorest of African countries to help out.  Another woman gathers materials, medicines, goods and money all year and goes to an orphanage in India she practically sustains by herself.

You wouldn’t expect that….would you?  I didn’t.  I have no idea if this ‘syndrome’ is just a subset of Snowbirding or if it is a unique form of charity.  It is not, I have learned, peculiar to just our neighbourhood.  We have some friends up in the north who do the same kind of ‘seasonal charity’ thing.  Poor Canadians being poor but contributing to others in warmer countries in the winter. Who woulda thunk it?

Winterizing, off-the-grid-style.




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