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.

Getting discouraged

Feeling discouraged? Me too! The hauler of a boat, by Honoré Daumier.  Image from

Feeling discouraged? Me too! And this guy…
The hauler of a boat, by Honoré Daumier.
Image from

I’m sure it’s bound to happen to most graduate students during their thesis-writing days. It’s a feeling of deep discouragement. One that gets you to your bones, and makes you feel tired in a way that sleep cannot suppress.  (more…)

ZZ’s Haphazard Pro Tips on Winter

A window!

Winter, a topic that requires no preamble.

Nonetheless I will state the obvious: Winter in Montreal is cold, dark, salty and grey.  It is full of small rocks that get in your boots and your bed. However, winter can also be beautiful, magical, spirited, romantic and quiet. Regardless of what it may or may not be, it is here now. So I have prepared a haphazard list of Pro Tips on winter survival (I am the pro):

1) Turn the heat on, and increase the household tog.

Putting plastic on the windows saves a tremendous amount of energy, and thus money. I have spent several winters Scrooging out and refusing to turn the heat on. Guess what happened? I was miserable, and never wanted to get out of bed. Having the luxury to exist in your home not wrapped in a blanket  is worth paying for. (more…)

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