Surviving Winter in a South China Family Used to Living Without Heating | Speaking of China

21 Responses

  1. Autumn
    Autumn January 4, 2016 at 9:24 am | | Reply

    Yes, we are spoiled here in the U.S. Mostly.

    I have the opposite problem. I love cold weather and I hate the heat. Our current little house, built in the 1950s, doesn’t have air conditioning. We live close to the Southern California beach and get lovely western ocean breezes almost every day, and so this wasn’t a problem. Until this last summer, when global warming gave us unheard of temperatures well into the 90s, for weeks at a time!

    Now we’re debating putting in central air conditioning. Andy thinks it’ll be worth it because I won’t be so hot and grouchy.

  2. Jessica P
    Jessica P January 4, 2016 at 6:01 pm | | Reply

    Did you know that in the States there is a requirement that a house can only be so cold even when the heat is off, and that is one reason that U.S. houses are insulated so well? Obviously, no such standard exists in Southern China!
    I survived 6 and a half years of freezing winters and perpetual colds in Hubei, and now after two years in Hong Kong, I told my husband I can never ever go back to visit his family in Hubei during the winter.
    Stay strong Jocelyn, and no matter what they say, you can put on hundreds of layers of clothes and it still will not protect you from getting a cold. No matter how many layers I had on, my nose was always freezing, but of course the Chinese blame that on my 大鼻子 (big nose). ????

  3. Alex Lee
    Alex Lee January 4, 2016 at 7:43 pm | | Reply

    While here in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, I’ve to put up with the heat for the past 2 weeks and it’s getting worst. I would certainly welcome some mild winter.

  4. Ray
    Ray January 5, 2016 at 1:27 am | | Reply

    Well, this winter has been very warm so far. As I’m in Shenzhen, and also from Ohio, it can be hard to get used to. The odd thing is that it’s often colder indoors than outdoors. But I like lots of blankets, and I buy a few electric blankets, and I make do fine. I don’t know how rural people who don’t use heaters could survive though.

  5. baixiaotai
    baixiaotai January 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm | | Reply

    I also live in Southern China. Not rural, but in the cities it’s quite the same – no insulation, near-zero temperature outside and inside isn’t much better… I’ve had permanent cold for few winters and I still hate those temperatures, but… Maybe it’ll sound strange, but as soon as I learned my husband’s ways to keep warm, I stopped catching cold every winter. Really! Electric mattress is a nice thing, but we don’t have any other heater at home. I just put on many layers, drink ginger tea, eat lamb and keep my feet warm. And I stay healthy! I feel much better then I felt in warm and cosy home in Poland…

  6. Timo
    Timo January 6, 2016 at 3:26 am | | Reply

    Yeah these Chinese standards are still an amazement for me even though I know it now for years. Considering that in Finland windows are not only double layered but the standard is three layers…
    Thinking now about our wooden cottage in Finland which keeps nicely warm without any electric heating even with -40 degrees celsius outside, only with a central fireplace with the stones keeping the heat for 1-2 days and all that is over 150 years old. Really makes me wonder why they never adapted to it over all those long years already in China

  7. Lindsay
    Lindsay January 21, 2016 at 12:52 am | | Reply

    Your post reminded me of what my mom used say whenever I complained about the heat – “Heat is better than the cold”.

    Hang in there, Jocelyn! 🙂

  8. George Peng
    George Peng January 23, 2016 at 7:05 pm | | Reply

    I’m from souther China, I spent four years university life in northern China, I have to say I’ve already used to living with heating. Once i come back home everytime at spring festival, I always feel so code.

  9. stephen
    stephen February 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn, I really enjoyed reading your article! My wife is from South Korea and I remember when we visited Korea last winter, it was very cold so we had to turn the heating on all the time haha:)

  10. Jeff Shultis
    Jeff Shultis December 26, 2017 at 1:44 am | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn:
    I am fascinated by these stories and your and other people’s experiences in China and elsewhere. I had no idea about these conditions. I live near Victoria BC, where most times the weather is fairly moderate. I mean we have palm trees! Basically, I can go anywhere almost any time of the year in t-shirts and regular pants or shorts! However, with global warming, we do have some very hot days in August, and lately some cold days in the winter. It’s Christmas day here with a lovely white landscape and a bit icy and coldish. I bless our thermostat which I can turn up anytime–no one wears a lot of extra clothing!
    One of the reasons I am interested in your blog was for this reason: I teach for VIPKID school on the computer. and all of my students are wearing coats inside and they have colds (ALL of them). They could not explain why that this was the case, so I contacted other teachers online, and they told me what was what. Now I know. Good luck with everything wherever you are. keep warm, and Merry Christmas!

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