Total Solar Eclipse in August 2017

Hi everyone! I decided to share one of my travel stories about seeing a total solar eclipse. Originally, I was planning to travel to see this annular eclipse in Northern Ontario/Quebec in June. Let’s just say it’s not going to work out. So, I wanted to share the story of how I officially became an Eclipse Chaser, plus my recommendations if you ever travel to see an eclipse. Read on to find out more!

Before I start though, I wanted to say that there was data out of sync on my site, which is why my posts haven’t shown up in Reader. Tech support said that you might need to refollow my site, but let me know if this post shows up! Sorry for the inconvenience!

Before The Eclipse:

The eclipse I am talking about happened on Monday, August 21, 2017. Six months before, my Dad noticed that the eclipse would reach totality in Oregon, but sort of disregarded it. When the eclipse date was a month away, we decided to see it reach totality. Planning got a little tight! After all, it’s a major event and people travel all over to see it, so it can be a pinch to get accommodation at the last minute. We figured this might be our one chance to ever see a total solar eclipse. The eclipse was projected to reach 70% totality in the SF Bay Area. Not good enough. We wanted to see 100% totality!

We decided to leave a few days before the eclipse so we could see some sites along the way.

Friday, August 18:

First day of our road trip! We drove from the SF Bay Area to Redding. Our road trips within Northern California generally seem to start by going to Redding first, with the exception of Yosemite. It’s like a base camp for just about everywhere else in the most northerly part of California.

I’m going to cut a long story short about my driving history because it spans different countries! That’s a whole other post. By the time we did the eclipse trip, I had been sharing the driving with my Dad when we did road trips for over a year.

It only took a few hours to get to Redding. We got to our motel and then decided to drive to Lassen Volcanic National Park since it was mid-afternoon. Note, it’s a long, windy road to Lassen from Redding! It took a couple of hours to get there. We didn’t get back to Redding until 9 pm! You might think this was the longest drive we had done this trip… Think again! I love how Lassen is significant both as a volcano and shaped by glaciers! How often do you get that?

We tried this restaurant near our motel that was open late, and ended up loving it! If you are staying in Redding go to Lumberjacks Restaurant after a long day of travelling! Their meals are hearty and warm and their service is great. Since repatriating to the US, I had a problem with restaurants serving large portions. I CANNOT eat everything on my plate in a US restaurant! If you’re looking for a restaurant that doesn’t overload you with food because you can’t get a doggy bag, Lumberjacks is the one! Plus, we appreciated the added benefit they are open late in this instance.

Saturday, August 19:

Today was exploring day! We slowly made our way up to the Oregon border and stayed in a motel in Yreka. Don’t confuse it with Eureka! They are both in the far north of California, but Yreka is closer to the state line. By the time we got to our motel in Yreka, it was becoming clear that things were getting busy because of the eclipse. Our motel was completely full, which never happens! Also, the restaurant we went to that night was bursting at the seams! Let me get back to the things I saw that day though.

Oroville dam:

I get an eerie feeling whenever I see dams in California. Water wars are legendary there. Little known fact: Most of the energy produced by the Oroville Dam is used to raise water 2,000 ft to go over the Tehachapi Pass and provide water from NorCal to SoCal. California has to think of more sustainable water systems so that there isn’t this war between NorCal and SoCal! Plus, it’s an enormous energy waste!

Six months before, the Oroville Dam had a failure that caused almost 200,000 people to be evacuated. The event was not far from peoples’ minds and there was a lot of talk about it. I have visited dams before, but this one felt different because of what had happened. As I was walking along the dam, I looked into the valley and I saw how exactly the dam failure could have been far more disastrous. I do like walking along the top of dams and taking photos of things as I go. This time, there was a lot I couldn’t see because there was a wildfire going on nearby and the smoke was obscuring the view.

During my walk on the dam, I saw a bird of prey happily eating a fish. The bird looked familiar but I couldn’t place it. I looked it up after my trip and found out it was an osprey! Also, I saw a number of them flying around looking for fish. It made me feel better about the dam seeing that animals are thriving there. I spent a lot of time just watching the osprey eating the fish and it was so close!

First sighting of the osprey!
Wish I had seen it catch the fish!
Ospreys are cool!

Burney Falls State park:

Next stop: Burney Falls! It was a welcome break from California water wars, drought, and wildfire. The sky was clearer there and the falls were full! After a drought, it’s refreshing to see the falls being so full! It was one of those places where I could stay all day! I couldn’t get enough pictures! I highly recommend walking the park trails too. They are just as lovely as the falls.

I took a photo of the sky with all the smoke. There was smoke going on in Oregon too and we wondered about our chances of seeing the eclipse. Luckily, we planned to see it in eastern Oregon. We hoped it was far enough east to be away from the smoke.

I hate wildfires!

Sunday, August 20:

It was time to cross the state line into Oregon! My Mum explained that state lines tended to be based on natural features, and this was no different. The marker was the Cascade Mountains. I should mention that I have this CD of theme songs from Western movies that have the best arrangments. So, I was driving when we were going over the mountains and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme song was playing! That’s one way to remember your experience driving over mountains!

Here’s one important thing I have to say about the Cascade Mountains. If you cross them on Interstate 5, it can be rather hairy, especially in the wintertime. I hadn’t had too much experience driving in mountains, so I stayed cautious as I went over the Cascades. My uncle once hauled a load over the Cascades in the middle of winter and he said, “Never again!” My uncle’s an excellent driver, but he reached his limit there. Plus, he saw more than one truck that had jackknifed on the road. It’s rainy, slippery, and steep and if professional drivers are jackknifing, yikes! Regardless, I would rather drive the Cascades on Interstate 5 than any other road.

The Motel Situation:

Before I talk about what touristy stuff we did, I want to say something about the motel situation we found ourselves in. Because we were so late in planning the trip, motels near Portland were absolutely packed! The one motel we could find was in Shady Cove, Oregon and that was a 400-mile drive to the nearest point in the totality zone, in John Day. The eclipse was about 10 am on the 21st, which meant we had to drive ALL NIGHT from Shady Cove to John Day! That was a lot to plan! Additionally, the motels were STILL full the following night, and we had to go back to Redding to stay the night. That was another 400-mile drive. We were talking about driving over 800 miles in one day!

Crater Lake National Park:

We checked into our motel at Shady Cove and then drove to Crater Lake National Park. It was a beautiful park, but the smoke from the fires was obscuring the view. It was kind of a letdown, so we decided to drive along and see if there was anything else fun that we could do. I have to make sure to NOT visit Crater Lake during fire season next time!

We decided to meander back to Shady Cove along the Rogue River, and then we came across this area by the road called Natural Bridge. It looked woodsy and beautiful, so we stopped and walked around for a bit. We were not disappointed! It was a loop path and the river was pretty calm in that area. The peacefulness was indescribable! I soaked it up considering what was ahead of me (a night and day of tag-teaming with my Dad on driving and sleeping). If you’re in Oregon, it’s a place worth seeing! I love gems that are off the beaten path!

And then… surprise!

We were driving back to Shady Cove when we came across a place where we could go river rafting! We hadn’t had the chance to raft before because the drought made California suspend all rafting. Now, the Rogue River was full and we thought, “Why not?!” We booked the raft for an hour though because we did need to plan for a nap.

I didn’t get any photos of rafting because I didn’t want to get my tablet wet. The river was full and fast and there were some hair-raising moments where you had to react quickly! Okay, I am not the best at paddling. It takes me a while to get the hang of it. Still, it worked out and I was able to react quickly when needed. I wish I had known the term “Send it!” at the time! The only problem was getting out of the raft at the end because the water was super fast. My Dad got soaking wet because he had to jump back in and stop my Mum from floating down the river! Overall, it was an incredible experience. It’s days like this that are going to drive people to do something about the drought and wildfire on the West Coast.

preparing for the main event:

Once the rafting experience was over, it was all about preparing to get to John Day that night. We got back to the motel, and after showers and food, we double-checked everything we needed for the trip and packed our bags. One part of the plan was to take gas cans for the 400 mile drive. The car we rented was the most fuel-efficient car we could get, but even that would have just BARELY got us to John Day on its tank of gas. We would be driving through the boonies and we weren’t entirely sure of the gas station situation. I will say more about this later because this is not a strategy I recommend. After my Dad filled up the car and the gas cans, we took a LONG nap!

We knew we had to leave by midnight at the latest if we were going to get to John Day in time. I set an alarm for 11 pm, but we all agreed that if one of us woke up before then to get the others up too. I woke up just after 9 pm and noticed my Mum was up, but like me, my Dad was awake but staying in bed as long as possible. The two drivers need sleep after all!

Since I felt pretty fresh, I decided to take the wheel first. I hadn’t driven at night since my driving lessons, so I had to readjust. Luckily it was country roads. I had the idea of if it was an 8-hour drive, my Dad and I could switch off every 2 hours. Of course, plans never work out that way. Environments don’t work in your favour.

Monday, August 21, 2017:

I handed my Dad the car at midnight, according to my plan. By then I could tell that my schedule of sleeping and eating was going to be thrown off. We stopped along the road at one point and had some food. It was then when we saw the Milky Way! I was mesmerized! I might have seen the Milky Way as a child, but I don’t remember it. The night was still and pitch black because there was no moon (my Dad said that makes sense for an eclipse). When we got back on the road, I continued napping. I tried to drive at one point because I was pretty restless, but it didn’t work. I needed more rest.

Here’s why you don’t carry gas cans with you:

It was between 4 and 5 am when we arrived at this little town to try and fill up on gas. As we suspected, there were no name-brand gas stations around and the local ones are not 24-hour ones. This little town had a population of 7 and its distinctive feature was a gas station. That made it the perfect place to try and fill up! Lol. So, we were trying to fill up the car with limited instructions, no internet to help us find any further instructions during a COLD night with no moon in the boonies! It was a perfect recipe for an Eclipse Flambe!

We realized we didn’t have a necessary piece of apparatus to help us with filling up the car. Because we had some spillages, we ended up needing to keep the gas cans and try to find a gas station that had graveyard shifts. So we were driving in a car that stank of gas fumes with cans in the back HOPING we wouldn’t get pulled over or go up in flames! I took the wheel because I drive more attentively and felt able to keep my eyes peeled for a gas station. Every street I went on I kept thinking, “Please have a gas station!” I found one in a larger town when we were almost running on empty after 8 hours of driving. I honestly never thought I would be happy to see a gas station!

The sun was rising as I was cruising down the road to John Day. I drove with a certain spring in my step! We had cleared the major hurdle of having enough gas and we made it to the totality zone!

We got to john day!

I thought I was going to explode with happiness when I saw the sign that welcomed us to John Day! I drove around to see where we could get breakfast and scored an ideal parking spot! The spot overlooked this grass space surrounded by a fence and you could see the sun clearly! As long as I live, I will never forget that I scored a perfect parking space for a total solar eclipse!

We got breakfast at The Outpost Pizza Pub and Grill. It was exactly what we needed after driving all night and eating car trip food. Sometimes, only tasty, hearty grub will do! The atmosphere was electric with anticipation for the eclipse and there was an Eclipse Menu!

We finished breakfast around 8 am and we decided to lie the car seats back and sleep for a bit. The relief of an uninterrupted 2-hour nap surpasses all understanding. I woke up at 9:30 am, saw my Mum was already awake and acquainting herself with other people around the area. I decided to join in and wait for the eclipse to start.

The Best Half hour ever!

Even though I knew the timing of the eclipse stages, to see it actually happening was exhilarating! Just before 10 am when I saw the moon start to go in front of the sun and I squealed! It was really happening! If you look at the sun directly, the moon was starting to go in front of it from the top right corner. We dug out the equipment we were going to use to see the eclipse stages. My Mum had brought some lenses to project the sun onto the ground. We didn’t have eclipse glasses, but someone offered some to us. They sounded as rare as gold dust and my Dad was skeptical if they were any good. We gave up Mum’s scientific experiment and tag-teamed on the glasses.

As the eclipse got closer to totality, I could feel the excitement building! It was about 70% totality when it became clear on earth that the moon was going to blot out the sun. You know when the sun sets, the temperature drops a bit and there’s a little wind? That was the first thing to happen. We looked on the ground and noticed the leaf patterns were semi-circles, which is another sign of an eclipse on a grand scale. Not a lot of people know that unless they have read how astronomers describe eclipses, so we went around pointing out the leaf patterns to people. I didn’t have sophisticated camera equipment to photograph the stages, so this was the best I could do.

and then…

Once the eclipse reached 90% totality, massive changes occurred! The light began to dim and it felt colder. A street light came on right before totality. Birds were flying back into the trees. You instinctively keep thinking the sun is about to set, and you have to fight with yourself on that.

Yep, one of those photos was from Day 6 of my 10 Day Travel Challenge!

Suddenly, the sun was completely blotted out and there was no need for eclipse glasses! A hush fell over the crowd like everyone was holding their breath. Then the diamond ring happened, which was more brilliant than the crown jewels! Everyone cheered and clapped! The sun appeared and that was the end of totality. Was it worth all the trouble to drive to Oregon, freak out about enough gas and drive all night? You bet your life it was! Once the euphoria wore off, we hit the road. I was amazed to see this massive line of cars leaving John Day.

The long and winding road:

I drove at first, and then the fatigue hit, so my Dad decided to take over for a while and let me sleep. He did tell me to be prepared because when the roadsigns showed certain distances, he stated how far he could make it. I joked that of course I was exhausted, it was a night without a day and a day without a night. Get the Ladyhawke reference?

I passed out so hard, nothing could have woken me. I happened to wake up when we were driving along this cliff face and I was amazed that we had driven that area at night! Sometimes it’s better to drive at night so you don’t see how treacherous the landscape is! I was happy to pass out again.

After stopping to have lunch, I took over driving so my Dad could sleep in the back seat. I was concerned because I had never driven while I was on the verge of exhaustion. Normally, I don’t drink coffee, but I had to have some of my Mum’s coffee beverage at lunch and at the wheel. I kept the radio on low so something could keep me awake. Plus, my Mum was willing to keep a conversation with me. I was hoping to make it all the way to Redding, which was about 230 miles from where I started driving, but it didn’t work. I had to switch with my Dad 30 miles before Redding because my legs hurt. My penguin walk became iconic.

The end:

We stopped at Lumberjacks in Redding for dinner. Mum kept thanking me and Dad for doing all the driving and kept saying how she was proud of me. It felt like that scene in The Incredibles when Dash and Helen/Elastigirl work together as a boat to get to shore. She says, “What a trooper. I’m so proud of you!”. I felt exactly like Dash when he says, “Thanks, Mom!”

After dinner and showers, we turned the TV on briefly to see what they said about the eclipse. We saw that the photobomb of the day was the International Space Station in front of the earth when the eclipse was being photographed from space! We must have passed out for about 12 hours. The only comparable fatigue was a transatlantic flight. I woke up and said, “Let’s go home!”

Final Thoughts:

I knew people who were excited to watch the eclipse on HD or were content with 70% totality. Call me old-fashioned, but technology is not going to replace the experience of seeing an eclipse. One science magazine said that if you aren’t sure if you have seen a total solar eclipse, you haven’t seen it. We’re talking the stuff of folklore and superstition in ancient civilizations here. There’s a reason why there was a fear surrounding eclipses before science advanced and explained everything. Even if you know the science behind it, all the science in the world can’t replace the sense of awe you get when you see an eclipse.

Before I give you my personal tips on seeing an eclipse, let me emphasize that you HAVE to go see it for real! You really do! I tell everyone I know they have to go see one! Now, I am officially an Eclipse Chaser. After reading my story, can you blame me?

Tips for Travelling To See A Total Solar Eclipse:

  1. First and foremost, remember this is a major event and people are going to be visiting in droves!
  2. Don’t see it in a city. There are fewer people in the countryside, and traffic won’t be nearly as bad.
  3. Find accommodation early and be aware that prices are going to increase because of the eclipse. I heard that accommodation in John Day was between $500 to $1000 a night right before the eclipse!
  4. If you can’t find a motel, keep your eyes peeled for other alternatives. Apparently, a school in John Day was renting tents for people to sleep in on their sports field! We didn’t know that, or we wouldn’t have driven all night!
  5. If you are in a situation where you have a long drive to the totality zone, rent the most fuel-efficient car you can get, and prioritize fuel stops if you’re driving in the middle of nowhere. You don’t want to run out of gas and not make it to the totality zone. Don’t do what I did and get gas cans full of gas though! Eclipse Flambe is not a worry you should have!
  6. Be aware motels are going to be packed the night following the eclipse as well, so be prepared for a long drive.
  7. Switch off driving!

Have you seen a total solar eclipse? Are you planning to see one? Let me know in the comments!

Seventh Month Theme: Mishmash

Hey everyone, didn’t know how to title this theme even though I gave it a lot of thought. It’s really been a mishmash!

Health is A Factor:

A week after I got my COVID-19 shot, I had gum graft surgery. Fortunately, the pain was FAR less than it was the first time I got it and I recovered faster! I have been super happy with the healthcare I have received in Calgary so far, and this was no exception. At least during my recovery, I was able to let my immunity develop after getting the shot without having to worry about going outside.How do I feel now that I got my first shot? Weird. There is a certain mental block I have after getting it. When the pandemic started, I got the attitude, “I’m not f***ing around with that s**t!” and I would overthink following COVID protocols. Now, even though I do still follow them, I don’t worry if I make a mistake. Even the best of us screw up sometimes, but the shot gives me peace of mind that I didn’t have before when I screwed up. Also, I read this New York Times article about languishing. Wow! Nailed it! There are lots of things I want to do, but I guess I have been locked down too long. I’ll get past it though.It doesn’t help that cases have been exploding in Alberta. I was recovering from surgery when new restrictions came in. My reaction was, “Fine with me! I’m home anyway!” I’m glad that vaccine eligibility has been expanded. Still, if you need tips, feel free to read my post about getting my shot!

Travel Update:

Thank you to everyone who gave me some travel recommendations last month! Word is that the Calgary Stampede is going to happen. Considering the current COVID-19 situation, it’s like “Oh no!” The plan is to definitely get out of dodge. I know how international events can take over cities. I was in London when the 2012 Olympics happened and there wasn’t a pandemic on top of it. Plus, there might be trouble if there are restrictions on the event because of COVID-19, so I feel it’s best to step away this year.So far, I am in the planning stage of a trip, and I don’t think anything will be finalized for a while. Restrictions keep changing all the time. At least I will be able to travel a bit (safely, of course) and hopefully, be able to see my Dad! Hopefully, next year will mean better times, and I will be able to see what the fuss is about with the Stampede.

More On Cultural Adjustment:

Normally, after the honeymoon period, there is a phase where you don’t like your new home. I found out I was going through that this past month. It’s one of those things I haven’t mentioned before in the past for various reasons, but I am breaking this cycle. There are many misconceptions about this phase, so let me clear some things up.

  1. As a general rule, this phase is really nothing personal against a new country. On the other hand, after this phase, if you STILL don’t like your new home, there is something more going on than meets the eye.
  2. You can tell when you’re going through the phase if your feelings are going to be temporary or permanent.
  3. This phase is completely normal! A country can be absolutely perfect for you and it will still happen!
  4. When you are feeling bad about your new home, it’s not necessarily what people say or do, or things going on in the country. Anything can set this off. Of course, things like the pandemic don’t necessarily help.
  5. You can get it with reverse culture shock too.
  6. A certain amount of homesickness contributes to it.
Case in point

I know I am going to get past this, and once I do, I am going to love Canada more! I saw the movie, Brooklyn recently. It’s so real about moving to a new country! My Irish side was saying, “I’m not crying! You’re crying!”

Some Other Cool Cultural Things:

Note the featured photo on my post. I find it touching how people are still saying “Welcome to Canada!” to me even after several months. I have also learned more about foods in Canada after watching the Great Canadian Baking Show. Despite my current phase of cultural adjustment, I am still trying to find hidden cultural gems!Funny story, I was with my Mum in Uber once and the driver asked us, “So where are you ladies from?” I don’t know if I have said this before, but TCKs have a weird relationship with that question. We can tend to dread being asked that. The general advice is to have a short version answer, a medium version answer, and a long version answer. What I tend to do is start with my short answer and if I get a good response, expand on my medium or long answer. I vary it depending on how people respond to me.This time, I gave my long response. My long response includes that I moved to Canada because the situation was getting pretty desperate in the USA. The Uber driver was very direct with how he felt about the USA and I took it. I said I completely agreed, but also added, “Having lived in other countries, I do understand those sentiments, and it’s okay with me.” I can’t believe I had never said anything like that before, but then again in England, there was a lot about American culture I didn’t know because of growing up there. Although I had some variation on that phrase, it fell flat.I think now that I have actually seen how American culture is after being away for so long, I can imply that it’s okay to say how you feel about the USA to me. I can also implicitly slide in the warning, “Don’t treat all Americans this way!”

Canadian Country Music In Time for Summer:

I stumbled on the following song and had to look it up!

How perfect that summer is coming and found the song. Killed the replay button! I’m starting to learn more about Canadian country music (hey, I’m in Calgary)! Is it different from American country music? That’s a big yes! I am listening to Dean Brody as I write this post. I like his song Canadian Girls as well. One of my biggest hopes is that I will see Dean Brody perform (hopefully at the Calgary Stampede)!

Spring!!

I can’t get enough green things now!! I have waited 7 months for blossoms to appear! Lately, I have gone crazy with the camera photographing flowers, baby bunnies, goslings, and other signs of spring!

I saw a bobcat!

I want to take the black bunny home!

Right now, Victoria Day weekend is about to happen, and the weather has turned. It’s now what I call snailing: a mixture of snow, rain, and hail. Only hardcore campers go camping this weekend. This is apparently the last gasp of winter and then June 1st is a whole different story!To my fellow Canadians, have a nice Victoria Day weekend!

Winter: London vs. Calgary

I get so many questions about what winter has been like in Calgary compared to London, so I decided to write everything about it down. That way, if anyone asks me, I can be like, “See my blog post!”

Did You Know?

London and Calgary are both 52 degrees north. I’m not kidding. The fact they are both so different just shows me how our world is unique and beautiful! It hit me that I was going that far north again when I was flying from YVR to YYC. The plane was flying north for more than half the flight and I thought, “Okay, this is real!” So, what are the differences in winter between London and Calgary? Read on to find out!

Sunrise, Sunset:

I looked up differences between sunrise and sunset times in London and compared them to Calgary. It just seemed a little off compared to what I knew in London. The sun rises and sets a half-hour later in Calgary. It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma why that is if they are both 52 degrees north.

Before I moved to Calgary, I mentioned to a friend of mine here how I struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder in London. My friend recommended buying special lightbulbs, aka SAD lights. It was like this moment in Legally Blonde.

I'm sorry. I just hallucinated.

How could I have grown up in London and NEVER found out about this?! I don’t think SAD lights are a thing there! Talk about a stiff upper lip. Lol.

During my quarantine period after moving here (see my Quarantine Diaries I and II), the clocks went back. There was no way I was waking up before 8 am! I then went to Canadian Tire (which I love more than Home Depot) and got some SAD lights. Voila! Cleared my fatigue right up!

As I got older in London, SAD got worse for me. It didn’t matter what I did (walks, Vitamin D, etc). Nothing worked. I got to the point I couldn’t stand another English winter and moved to Sunny California! My thing to say was, “Ask me if I miss London!” So, you can imagine how pissed off I was to know that the constant fatigue I felt in London could have been remedied with SAD lights!

Temperatures and Humidity:

Zero degrees Celsius in England? More like Absolute Zero. Yep, the humidity was such that I could feel the cold cut through me. I knew people in England who would buy cold-weather clothes from other countries because what they had in England was not sufficient. Don’t even get me started on shoes. When someone in England says it’s cold, believe it. I read Canada by Mike Myers, and he described the cold as bone-chilling. Okay, it says a lot if a Canadian describes English temperatures as bone-chilling. I knew people from other cold-weather climates think it was much colder in London than it actually was.

On the bright side, I became a big tea drinker. Nothing like a cup of tea to warm me from the inside out. No wonder that became a cultural thing! Here in Calgary, sometimes the heat in my apartment can be too much because it’s not humid. In London, it would be sheer bliss!

Dealing with Snow:

In February 2009, there was a massive snow dump of 8 inches in London (more in other parts). I kid you not, the city completely shut down. It was fun to get a couple of days off, but it made the UK look like a laughing stock to other countries. I mean, it’s not LA. You would expect the largest city above 50 degrees north to not shut down over a little snow, but it did. It snowed some more the following year and things were only slightly better.

That wasn’t even the whole story. People didn’t know how to shovel their front walk or said they wouldn’t do it because they were afraid of being sued for doing it wrong. So many people ended up in emergency rooms with broken bones because of it. My Mum ended up being one of them. She blamed herself because she didn’t grow up around snow. I don’t think she was to blame. It can happen to anyone. It’s even more likely if your country doesn’t handle snow properly. Our friends who were from northerly climates were the most sympathetic about what happened.

I reached the end of my rope with London when it came to snow. Plus, it knocked the confidence I had from living in snowy climates. Therefore, I was rather dubious about ever living in a snowy climate again. It took me a while to get my snow confidence in Calgary, but it did come back. If anything, I have learned more here than I did in other snowy climates, but that’s a whole other post. I will say this though, I wasn’t expecting to feel like hibernating when the temperatures were the lowest in February.

Staying Physically and Emotionally Healthy:

I didn’t know what it was like to be really sick with a cold or flu until I moved to London. After that, I just accepted the fact my immunity was bad. Even though I did everything I could to boost my immunity, it didn’t work. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I realized my body was feeling like it was constantly fighting infection. I don’t know what it was about England that made my immunity worse, but I know I wasn’t unusual. I knew other people who moved to England and felt it impacted their health. The most famous example is Srinivasa Ramanujan who died of tuberculosis after living in England. It’s not usually that extreme though and everyone is different. In contrast, I felt like my health got better in Calgary.

I have noticed big cultural differences in other factors like obtaining good quality fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods, and winter activities. It almost surprised me how good produce is readily available in Calgary. Plus, I feel like the level of food quality is higher overall than both the US and UK. Even though I haven’t participated in winter activities in Canada just yet, I am excited about doing so! I noticed that in London, there weren’t any activities that I could label as “winter activities” like they do in more Arctic climates. It makes me wonder how that impacts well-being too.

Overall, I would say that Calgary winter is much better for me. My tricks for combating SAD work. I have had to get my mind around the fact that it’s actually really sunny here. I don’t think I am really built for England. What do you think about what I said about my winter comparissons?