Did we just skip winter?

This post is in no way intended to make my North American readers (especially those so affected by the polar vortex) feel jealous. But it probably will. So for that, I'm sorry.

Amsterdam is all green grass, blue skies and cherry blossoms this winter.

There were a handful of things that made me feel worried about moving to the Netherlands, and two in particular plagued my mind the most. The first was the fact that I was going to be living so far away from my friends and family with no real date set for when I would live near them again. The second was the weather.

The months I had spent in Amsterdam prior to my move evoked the second worry. My visits were either warmer than I preferred, wet and rainy, or colder than I preferred, wet and rainy. I vividly remember that excited feeling I had while packing for my first summer in Amsterdam, carefully folding all my sundresses, skirts and tank tops, throwing in a few cardigans for the colder days, and tucking my sandals along the side of the suitcase. I was so enthusiastic about spending the summer with my man, cruising around on my bike wearing a flowery dress, lounging in the park wearing a flowery dress, drinking coffee or beer at a café in the sunshine wearing a flowery dress ... you get the idea. That said, I also vividly remember that disappointed feeling I had while buying a completely new wardrobe once I arrived, a wardrobe that consisted of jeans, sweaters, scarves and closed-toed shoes. You see, I like my summers to be in the high 70s if we're talking Fahrenheit, in the mid 20s if we're talking Celsius, and full of sunshine no matter what. Anticipating that my summer temperatures would now be in the high 60s if we're talking Fahrenheit, right around 20 degrees if we're talking Celsius, and often accompanied by a chance of showers didn't exactly thrill me.

And the winters? Well, while the two Januarys (Januaries? I don't think I've ever written the plural of a month ending in y before) I spent in Amsterdam were warmer than pretty much any January in Minnesota, the warmer weather usually just meant that it rained more. Plus, it was still cold. Not necessarily freezing, but still cold. Now, it does snow in Amsterdam, and every few years the canals freeze over lending themselves to a fantastic skating experience I've yet to behold, but my short rendezvous with Amsterdam winters had mostly left me feeling like a shivering, drowned rat (pictured in this post).

So just imagine my surprise! My excitement! My elation! When I discovered that my worries about the weather were all for naught. This summer in Amsterdam was absolutely beautiful, and I took full advantage of this by basking in the sun on my balcony, picnicking in the park, and drinking coffee and beer at cafés in the sunshine. My only regret was that I neglected to pack my full collection of sundresses when I moved, thinking that they would spend most of their time hanging in my closet, taunting me every time I reached for a long-sleeved shirt instead.

And this winter? Well, I think we actually may have skipped it. As of now, we've only had a handful of days during which the lowest temperature dipped below freezing, and the maybe two not-even-worth-talking-about snowfalls lasted about five seconds with all flakes melting before they hit the ground. At first, I wasn't so happy about the lack of snow (I like my winters white ... and am beginning to realize that I have quite a long list of preferences regarding the weather), but now that we approach March and I find myself biking to work without gloves, I'm starting to change my mind.

If we did, indeed, skip winter, you won't hear me complaining. If this phenomenal Dutch weather continues, I may write off that initial worry altogether. And if you're looking for a reason behind this great weather, well, I like to think I brought it with me.

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