Ever since I got back from my holiday in Shenzhen I have not felt like moving.
Each day, I cannot wait to get out of the office, rush home, lie on the couch, and do nothing. Someone said it's just holiday syndrome but I know what it is really about: it's about getting cold, and I hate it.
The day I arrived back at the airport I knew Beijing could already see its winter coming. It is more than 10 degrees lower than the city I was in 2,000 kilometers away. My toes in their flipflops felt frozen, and I began to miss the sea and beach immediately.
The autumn in Beijing seems to get colder and colder – who says the earth is getting warmer, at least I don't see it happening here. Especially in the evening, a thick coat doesn't even protect me from shaking.
Normally, the central heating will not come on until mid-November. Before that I will have a hard time, just like I do every year.
Seven years in this city hasn't helped me get used to the long and cold winters. To me, the coldness is like the darkness in a fairy tale, and it absorbs my energy, as well as my passion; it not only freezes my hands but also my mind.
I've had several quite painful experiences in winter here such as being stuck for three hours in a bus in heavy snow, but the most important thing is that I feel like an old maid in this cold when I have to dress in too many clothes and when I am constantly inclined to curl up and go to sleep. I'm like a silkworm sticking to its cocoon or a snail shrinking back into its shell. Sometimes, I wonder whether I'm not evolved enough and maybe still need hibernation like a bear.
Most of my friends don't understand my dramatic reaction to normal season change. Fortunately, I found one who shares the same feeling. A Norwegian recently told me he moved to Beijing because it's too cold out in his Norwegian hometown where the winters are unbearably long and it's very depressing.
This man left his country for warmth. That might explain how much climate can affect people's temperament, although it seems to me he still had better choices, Hong Kong or Hainan would be more comfortable in this aspect compared to Beijing. He is thin, like me, but I don't think our ability to deal with the cold is all about how much fat we are storing.
Coldness makes men gloomy and pale while sunshine brings a good mood. Just see how many Americans move to Florida, the sunshine state.
I remember a German film I watched long ago that told the story of a single mother and her depressed daughter. The mom was a top chef but the little girl had anorexia and was not interested in anything her mother cooked. She was blue and eccentric, just like the mother. The situation didn't change until an Italian chef came into their lives, whose sunny character not only touched the mom but also moved the girl, and she began to enjoy food.
The director showed in many parts of the film how murky and cold Germany is. In the end, the three formed a family and moved to Italy.
The solution to such a lifelong problem is to go to another country with more sunshine – the director must have the same problem as me.
One morning, as I was rushing over a flyover trying to catch my bus, I caught sight of a flock of wild geese honking away; it's rare to see, or to notice such a scene in the city center. It was time for them to head south. I stopped and watched for a while and wished they could take me away with them, even if only for a short trip.
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