We Hunkered Down & Pressed On…

Tractor-trailer powers through blizzard

Tractor-trailer powers through blizzard

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]arlier this week I mentioned how the current freeze reminded me of our first Canadian winter, four years ago. UK southern softies fresh from London life, we had none of the protective, insulating clothing most Canadians take for granted and thanks to the cost of relocating and astronomical insurance rates for foreign drivers, it was a year before we even had a car. In Canada. Home of Drive-Thru everything, where Car is King.

We used to play “Spot The Pedestrian” from our living room window, they were so few. My husband cycled to work through blizzards, and grocery shopping for a young family of five was a trial of endurance – when Pampers were on offer I walked 3.5km home through the snow with a jumbo box under each arm!

Click through to my Expat Focus column and read my full description of what it was like to be cold and carless in Canada… I’d love to hear your comments!




By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. Enjoyed your Expat Focus column, a car definitely must make life so much easier in those temperatures. Hate taking my buggy out in the snow and we only have for a few days at a time here!!!

  2. Wow. Every time I think about moving to North America the cold is what stops me. I find it too cold here in London… I really don’t think I could handle Canada cold. I have a friend who just move there and every time I talk to her I freeze on Skype 😉

    1. The only reason I can live with it Orli, is because I know the summer will be hot and humid – Toronto is almost tropical in the summer months with temps reaching into the forties.

  3. Yes we southern Brits are real wusses about the cold. Rather you than me in all that snow!! Love your Blog btw – the simplicity and layout are very easy on the eye 🙂

  4. Can get fairly scary, when we had -17 to -12 for weeks on end we even heated the garage to stop the pipes from freezing. Snow boots and down jackets essential.

  5. Lovely image and a great comment about the southern softies. I’m definitely one of those! When we were in Canada a few years ago every time I skied I bought another item of clothing when I reached the bottom of the piste. How lame!

    1. Not sure I could either Kara! Many people seem to think Canada is cold all year round – while that may be truer for those living in the Yukon Territory bordering Alaska, I can assure you further south we have four seasons just like you. Here in Ontario we have scorching summers with temps reaching the forties and Heat Alerts issued. That’s one of the reasons I LOVE Canada so much – a proper Winter and a proper Summer, the best of both worlds 🙂

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