Lessons from Winter

When I was a little kid, my sister and I would open the freezer door and let the cool air hit our faces after playing under the hot sun. We thought this must be what winter feels like. We giggled as we imagined streets filled with the same icy surface that was inside the freezer and before our mum told us to shut the freezer door, we hoped that one day we could live in one of those countries with winter.

As I set my foot on English soil 18 years ago, winter welcomed me. However it wasn’t the snowy white one that I imagined. It was February when I arrived and I caught winter by its tail. It was going to be spring soon and the weather might be warmer for locals, but for me it was extremely cold. I had always associated winter with snow, so my 10 year-old mind was confused: how was it possible that there was no snow and yet be so cruelly cold at the same time? Odd.

As I grew older and lived in other four seasons countries, I learned that there were more than winter than just snow.

Lesson #1: Winter is a strong gust of wind

It blew my mum’s newly bought umbrella and nearly toppled her over. The wind was cold and was so very different to the humid wind I was used to back home. It made my nose runny and sent my hair into a tangled mess much very like mie ayam (chicken noodle).

Lesson #2: Winter is lots of layers

Going out of the house for a simple run to the newsagent down the street required lots of layers of clothing instead of just putting on a t-shirt and shorts. It was weird having so many layers on me. The winter coat made me look like a bakso (meatball), plus all those accessories! The hat, boots, gloves, scarf – I felt wobbly and heavy!

Winter used to only mean snow to me

Lesson #3: Winter is sometimes just sleet (instead of snow)

When I first saw sleet, I thought it was snow. Well, it’s kinda is snow but not really. In Leeds, I saw more sleet than snow, sometimes it would sleet so hard that the ground was all white. It made my sister and I excited so we would run right out from our flat’s door, only to find that this “snow” was so fragile that the moment we laid our fingers on it, it disappeared. We were disappointed of course, weren’t snow meant to be fun to play with?! We were looking forward to making snow angels and throwing snowballs at each other!

Lesson #4: Winter is slippery

So often the temperature was so cold, but not cold enough for snow, but just enough for ice especially after lots of rain. Usually the wet ground would form a thin layer of ice, and this is the worst! I would slip while walking and try to balance myself. Phew! I didn’t know winter was so challenging!

Lesson #5: Winter is also beautiful when it wants to

So winter in Leeds basically failed me, but then I got a second chance at experiencing winter. My first “grown up” winter experience was in Innsbruck where my friends and I took a tram up to a village near the Alps. I saw miles and miles of thick snow, my eyes was fixed to the tram’s huge window while my friends were giggling looking at me. I told them that I’ve never seen so much snow in my life. It was truly amazing!

From my tram in Innsbruck

Then back in Nantes where I lived, I remember it was around 2AM and I was still up doing assignments when snow started falling. Not sleet, but snow! It looked like cotton balls coming from the dark sky. Soon enough cars, rooftops and the ground were filled with it. I received a message on Skype from one of my friends, asking me if I would like to play outside. Giddy as I was, I immediately agreed. That night a bunch of us played in the snow, chasing one another with snowballs, feeling freezing but excited at the same time.

First snowfall in Nantes!

Apart from that, winter also meant hot chocolate with a dash of Baileys, warm lattes and also I tasted my first gluhwein during my first “grown-up” winter – it was the most magical drink I’ve ever had. Winter was also about being cosy, cuddled up with a book near the fire (OK, the heater…) with scrumptious bites. I grew more and more in love with winter because of its “traditions” too.


As a person who grew up in a tropical country, winter will always fascinate me. It will always excite me like a little kid though it may not be what I imagined it as a child. Now I enjoy wearing layers, I love devouring those comfort foods made for winter and if you ask me what my favourite season is, winter is second on the list (after autumn because no one can deny the beauty of those foliage…).

With that being said, I was really sad when Noni told me about the Before the Flood documentary on climate change (Noni has also written about this particular documentary in Indonesian, you can read it here). I felt devastated after watching it. We all know that the effects of global warming can be seen and maybe you have even experienced it yourself. It was really shocking to see that in the future, snow might be a rare thing to experience. Can you imagine that? To me a world without winter, would be just…weird. If you haven’t seen the video, you can have a look at it (and this post is in no way associated with that documentary).

I hope that this season, which may not be as magical as I thought but still with its own quirks and excitements, does not get eliminated from our world.

Have you experienced winter before? Or are you from a four season country? What is your favourite thing about the season?

#CeritaJalanAsik is a weekly travel theme where we share our travel stories based on a certain theme by Jalan2Liburan, Nyonya Sepatu and Dream Explore Wander. Check out our posts every Wednesday!

This week’s theme: Winter and I

4 Comment

  1. di kepala mba Winter = kado, natal dan dingin doang Gy haha

    1. Huahahahaha dasarrr…kado ya pasti 😀

  2. huaaaa foto terakhirnyaaaaaa, mnatappp saljunya Gy.. walopun kebayang bersihinnya capek, tapi buat foto, bagusss.. haha..

    1. Iya ciii mantap yaa…untung gw waktu itu cuma jalan dan naik bis, gak kudu bersihin mobilnya hihihi

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