Bring Warm Clothes

In 1981, a book was published in my home state titled Bring Warm Clothes: Letters and Photos from Minnesota’s Past. The title of that book has been bouncing around in my head the last few days as we put the finishing touches on our upcoming “Esther Expedition,” — a couple of Minnesotans travelling across central China in March, following in the footsteps of another Minnesotan who did the same 80 years ago.

A friend recently asked me if I was stressed about being responsible for all the planning of this trip.  Surprisingly I’m not. I think we’ve got a good plan, but I’ve lived in China long enough to know that a fair amount of it will change along the way. I can handle that.

But, in the last few days, as I’ve been monitoring weather reports out of the cities we will travel to/through, I realize that I do have one fear:  freezing to death. March in the places where we are going is pretty much temps in the 40’s and 50’s with rain and drizzle.

Now, one would think that, given the fact that we are from Minnesota, this would not be a problem.  After all, most of us Minnesotans look at 40’s and 50’s and start digging around for our shorts and t-shirts — especially in the spring.

The dirty little secret though, is that, despite all of our tough bravado, we Minnesotans actually don’t handle cold weather very well.  We do handle it, but our preferred and perfected method is to avoid actual contact with the cold. We live in warm houses. We step into heated garages. We have heated cars (with heated seats). We park our cars and make mad dashes into our heated offices and shops and restaurants, sometimes even leaving our coats in the car!

This is not how it is in China, particularly in central and southern China, where the sun rarely shines and there is little in-door heating.  We will be trapsing around outside a good part of the time — in the cold, in the rain, away from the sunshine.

When I was reading one of Esther’s many letters that are forming the backdrop of this trip, I cringed when I read one written in mid-March about how she was so very cold all the time. So, even though the temps will be warmer than Beijing, I am trying to mentally prepare myself for actually feeling much colder this coming month as we make our way across the country.

We may be Minnesotans, but we still need to be reminded to bring warm clothes.

Related post:  Wear More Clothes

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3 thoughts on “Bring Warm Clothes

  1. I remember when I was living in Nanchang, my mom and brother came to visit me around Christmas. They live in northern MN,so they were excited to be leaving the below zero temps for temps in the 40s. Thankfully they did follow my advice to bring long johns (even though they were certain they would NEVER use them). The first day they arrived it didn’t seem too bad; however; after day number two, when the wet cold settled into their bones and they couldn’t find a warm building, they finally understood why I told them to bring lots of layers and long johns.