09 Nov Winter is here
Recently, a few friends mentioned to me how much they love winter. "I wish Taiwan was colder," they said when I told them about the -12°C arctic blast coming up. Or, "Winter is the best!" As I'm writing this blog entry and preparing to rant about the Chicago winter, I'm reminded of the second coldest place I've ever been: Lapland. Winter there _was_ amazing. I remember it was -15°C, yet being outside almost didn't even feel cold. I remember laying in the snow, and it was so quiet it was deafening. No, winter in Chicago is not like that at all. The first thing I dislike about winter in Chicago is how dry it is. According to [some sources](https://www.hvac.com/faq/recommended-humidity-level-home/), ideal indoor humidity flucuates according to outdoor temperatures. But, even at -30°C, the ideal indoor humidity is 15%. Take a look now at the humidity in my apartment, with 0°C outdoor temperatures. ![Humidity indoors in Chicago](/_static/stuff/2019-11-09-humidity.jpg) Now you may say, "Michael, just get a humidifier! What are you thinking!" But a humidifier was one of the first things I bought when I first arrived in Chicago nearly 3 years ago. The problem is this: ![Frost on windows](/_static/stuff/2019-11-09-frost.jpg) That's condensation on the windows, and frost all around the window frame. It looks like water droplets on the frame, but it's actually all frozen. The [right thing to do](https://redoakproperties.com/blog/prevent-condensation-your-apartment-windows-winter) here is to lower the humidity indoors. That means turning off the humidifiers and leaving the bathroom fan on longer after showering. However, when it's too dry, I get dry eyes, my skin flakes, my nails chip, and I get nose bleeds almost every week. I've tried 4 different kinds of body lotion in the past 3 years. I've tried 2 shampoos for dry scalp. I've tried 4 different face moisturizers. This year, I've settled on Aveeno and COSRX. I now take cold showers in the winter. I don't really like it. Chicago actually [isn't](https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/why-is-chicago-called-the-windy-city.html) called the Windy City because of the wind. But that doesn't mean it isn't really an _extremely windy city_. I walk to work, and walking in Chicago in winter is one of the most difficult things to do. The wind chill makes the Real Feel temperature drop 5-10°C every day. I try to cover my face with a face mask or balaclava, but I also wear glasses. That means when I try to breathe outdoors, the hot air from my breath condenses on my glasses. Because it's below freezing, that condensation freezes instantly. Not only does this damage my glasses, it also makes it impossible to see. Besides the wind, the ground is also very icy. That means you can't walk too fast, and so you're outside longer. That's the end of my rant. Honestly though, Chicago is a pretty livable city. It's just that the winters are pretty bad. I think the short autumn we get in Chicago is probably my favorite season here. Too bad it only lasts a week!