International Endurance – Weather Wisdom

A huge part of the typical international student’s experiences consists in facing countless novelties and learning how to deal with them, whether they are good or bad. And given that we are in Montreal and just three days ago we survived one of the (to my mind) worst days ever from a weather point of view, here are a few suggestions for those of you who almost never feel ready.

Instagram @gradlifemcgill Photo by

Instagram @gradlifemcgill Photo by

– Don’t get discouraged.
It is easier than you think. I had no idea I could be affected so much by weather, and especially by the cold. When I lived in Milano, I had a very hard time getting through the extremely humid and hot summer, but winter was never very hard, even though the humidity could make a trivial 0°C feel like a -15°C. Then Montreal became my home and I realized that the length of the bad season here, and particularly the wind, have become my worst enemies. There is little I can do about them though, so I can just suggest you to spend time with friends when you feel blue, and hold on because summer in Montreal is pretty amazing. If it’s your first time, you’ll figure it out, otherwise you know what I am talking about.

Do something; do everything

For some reason, one of the most enriching things in life seems to be collecting new experiences. Doing something novel somehow just feels significant; like you’re making progress of some sort. Whenever I think about ancient humans leaving the fertile crescent, or crossing the Bering land bridge, racing to the poles, or dying a dried-up husk in the Sahara while searching in vain for the source of the Niger river, I can’t help but picture this feeling of driving curiosity to be a big player. (more…)

Holiday Letter Four: Wacky Weather

Dear Winter,

I know that climate change makes it difficult, if not impossible, for you to make up your mind about how winter will unfold. Cold or mild? Snow boots or galoshes? Puffy coat and ski gloves or mid-weight parka and mittens? Slippery or safe? Outdoor skating or not? Wet or dry wind?

So far, there has been much confusion. I suppose we deserve it.


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