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the coldest cold you’ll ever experience

25 January, 2011

Last summer, when gathering information on life in Morocco, a friend of a friend who served here last year as a Fulbright mentioned that winters are the worst. As he put it, its the coldest cold you’ll ever feel.

Having grown up in Chicago, where winters are long and not terribly warm, I scoffed at his claim that winters here are the coldest I would ever experience.

Now that I have lived here through the coldest month of the year, and especially now that one of our two electric space heaters has stopped working, I kind of understand where he was coming from.

In Morocco, there is no such thing as central heating. And typically, houses are built with concrete walls and tile floors.

The result? Cold.

The kind of cold that sticks with you.

The kind of cold that doesn’t go away even when the sun is out and the outside temperature is in the 60s.

The kind of cold that makes you want to stay in bed all day snuggled under blankets with your cats (who have now grown something resembling fur because they are adapting to the cold).

The kind of cold that results in indoor temperatures being in the 50s.

The Husband and I are lucky in that we can afford to buy heaters and run them whenever we feel like it, even if it means a higher electric bill.

When I venture outside of the one warm room in our apartment, I wear at least three shirts, plus a long sweater-like jacket, plus a scarf, plus a coat.

Wearing slippers inside is necessary because the tile floors are freezing, even through your socks.

I am used to the winters in Chicago, but I’m also used to living in a one-room cave that sits above the building’s boiler. I’ve gotten used to the cold here, and I know it could be much worse, but this experience has definitely made me appreciate things I formerly took for granted: insulated houses, central heating, carpeted floors.

And soon enough, it will be 100+ degrees here, and I will be wishing for the winter chill.

For now though, I’m staying under the blankets with the cats.

our beautiful heater

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