By Robyn

Winter can be trying for all of us, especially February. But what must it be like for many of our International Neighbors who hail from warmer countries? Here are some opinions, starting with the home country that has the warmest average February temperature.

Khadra (Mogadishu, Somalia, 89F/32C)

Khadra’s favorite thing about the Michigan winter is looking at the beautiful trees covered with snow from inside her warm house. Least favorite would be walking in the snow in her long traditional dress (she wears cozy leggings underneath) and getting her car stuck in the snow on her unplowed street.

Manang (Manila, Philippines, 87F/31C)

Manang’s favorite thing in winter is ice hockey season. Her boys are great players and she loves going to their games. If she lived in a warmer place in the United States, like Virginia, there would not be the same passionate ice hockey culture we have here.  Her least favorite thing is walking up to her house on a hill when it is really icy. She remembers having to do that a lot when her boys were small when they were redoing their driveway. She held one child with each hand and hoped for the best.

Dewi (Djakarta, Indonesia, 86F/29C)

Dewi’s daughter is almost three and loves the snow. Dewi’s favorite thing is playing with her daughter in the snow and building snowmen. They also have a kitchen play set outside where they “cook” and serve the snow. Maybe the snowmen are guests. She also loves the scenery when the trees are covered with ice/frost.  Her least favorite thing is the need to wear layers. It can get too heavy for her liking. Not to mention the challenges of dressing a toddler to go outside in the winter.

Neena (New Delhi, India, 76F/24C)

Neena’s favorite thing about the winter is just watching the snow fall. It looks so beautiful like a fairyland when it is snowing and after the snow. She also likes the winter activity and sports. You can really have fun in the winter, pack yourself up and go sledding, ice skating, skiing or just plain playing in the snow. Her least favorite thing is driving in the snow and clearing the walkways.

Rose (Hong Kong, 66F/19C) 

Rose lived in Hong Kong many years before coming to Ann Arbor and likes the winter because it reminds her of her native Korea. In fact, we are on the same latitude as South Korea here. In Hong Kong she missed the cold weather. Her favorite thing is how the snow here is clean and pretty and the trees are beautiful. The air is crisp and clean. Least favorite are the power outages here. She never experienced a single power outage in the 37 years before she came to Ann Arbor. But she would rather have a power outage in the winter than the summer. At least you can save your frozen food by putting it in the snow.

Dilek (Istanbul, Turkey, 49F/9C)

Dilek’s New Year’s wish for us all is “May the only negative thing in 2022 be our COVID tests!” Her favorite thing about Michigan winters is the snow, as it brings a sense of serenity and purity. Her least favorite is that winter weather lasts too long here, taking up time from spring which is too short.

Maja (Zagreb, Croatia, 45F, 7C)

Maja says skiing is very much part of the culture in Croatia. Here in Michigan her favorite thing is being able to ski up north. It’s an easy drive and you don’t need to get on a plane like you would at home to go to the Alps to ski. Her least favorite thing is that winter lasts seven months here. It can get cold in October and when her birthday rolls around in April we can still get snow. In Croatia, warm April weather is close to guaranteed.