Posted by: 1of10boyz | January 11, 2013

Hello Mother, It’s cold out there.


I have now lived more of my life away from where I grew up than I actually lived there. That is really a sad recollection.

I grew up in a small, tiny actually, town in Western Wyoming. So small in fact that I actually use places like Yellowstone National Park as a reference to where it is (90 miles south, thanks for asking). That kind of direction for where you live works OK in the US, most people in the US know it it some where in the “west”, but I doubt that if I gave them a blank map with a request to put their finger on it many couldn’t even come close. Here in China, nobody knows where Yellowstone is and fewer than that know where Wyoming is (I know, if nobody know where it is how can there be fewer than that? – you haven’t been to China, I think that is possible). We had a guy today talk with us about where we came from in the US. His points of reference were the Mississippi River and California; so, the answer is somewhere in the middle of that is the Rocky Mountains and that is where Wyoming is.

Now, I have to admit that I didn’t know much about China before venturing here. It was just a big RED (scary communist) blob on the map for all of my high school and college learning experiences. I knew a little about it, just enough to be scared of the Chinese; I had heard of the Yangtze River, I had heard of the Pearl River, I had heard of Tibet, Mongolia, some of the major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong (ok, that is only China since 1997), but I think you get the idea. I am certain that I couldn’t put a pin on the globe within several thousand miles of where they actually are until living here. I could probably come pretty close now. So, that fact that nearly all of the people here have now idea where WY is, isn’t surprising. It has fewer people living in it than a 5th class city here in China. FYI, a 5th class city here isn’t even a county seat or region seat, it is considered to be just barely above the village level, and it typically has less than 1 million people living in it. I don’t know how many of these little cities there are in China, probably several hundred. Now the Great State of Wyoming has a grand total of about 550,000 people living in it, which probably includes a lot of snowbirds. Snowbirds are those grey-headed people that chose to live in WY in the summer and “migrate” south for the winter; this means that they actually don’t spend 6 months in WY during most years.

Winters are long and cold in WY, more especially so when I was growing up. I know, we always hear the “old” people telling about how bad it was in the old days. My grandparents and my parents told those stories. You know the ones, where they walked uphill both ways to still in 3 feet of snow to get to school and they didn’t complain, so we shouldn’t be complaining either. Yea, those kinds of stories. I left Wyoming for the most part, either on my LDS mission, US Navy service, college years, and my career in 1983. So my formative years in the 1970s and early 1980s are the only real living there I have had other than the last 7 years. And my last two years have been more out of WY than in due to work.

I have lived in some nice places during that time Orlando, FL, San Francisco, CA, and Honolulu, HI to name just a few. I have not had to experience a really cold winter. So now that I am in China, I am in Harbin or Ha’erbin depending on how true to the actual Chinese you want to be, to see some winter art. This is the 25th year that they have done a snow and ice festival. The real problem with a snow and ice festival is that it needs to be cold to make that work. I am sure that I have been colder than I am right now in my life, but honestly, I can’t remember when. I am not really complaining as my body is now much better prepared for cold weather, at least my stomach is. It has a nice insulating layer on it that I certainly didn’t have as a slender 6’1″ 160 pound athlete (ok, most of the time it was closer to 150 pounds – interesting how then I added weight to my stats line and now I subtract it).

Brr, its cold outside today.

Harbin_Jan 10 2013 chinamap2

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