Why the tendency to land myself in places that are cold? Let’s see…
- when I studied abroad in Beijing, winter was about -10°C (14°F)
- when I worked in Seoul, Christmas was -14°C (6.8°F)
- when I visited Harbin for the Ice and Snow Festival, it was a walloping -35 °C (-31°F). Standing in front of St Sophia Cathedral (see photo below), both myself and the bing tang hu lu  held in my hand were quite frozen, albeit one slightly more than the other.
Having been to very very cold places and lived (obviously) to tell the tale, here are some tried and true advice to staying warm.
- Leggings, which provide better insulation against cold weather than jeans, are your best friend. Consider pairing thermal leggings with shorts or skirt for a stylish ensemble. As for men, do not be ashamed of long johns. Embrace them. (In fact, while surfing the web I came upon “stylish,” polka-dotted long johns).
- Layer, and I repeat, layer, layer, layer. When I went to Harbin, I wore 3 x 3 x 3 x 5. Roughly translated, those numbers stand for three pair of socks, three pair of pants (thermal underwear, leggings and jeans), three pair of gloves (liner, leather gloves lined with fur and mittens) and five shirts/jackets (thermal underwear, shirt, thick wool cardigan, jacket #1 and #2).
- Cover your face, and wear a hat. Even if the rest of your body is well-insulated, you will lose a large percentage of your heat through any exposed parts, like an uncovered head or exposed face.
- Eat ice cream (see Grom, persuasion of ice cream).
- Run away to somewhere warm. Quoting a Chinese proverb (because proverbs are supposedly wise), “Those who know when to call it quits are true heroes” (識時務者為俊傑). Because let’s face it, if you truly can’t fight it, you might as well consider working around it.
In fact, I remember last winter as warmer, yes and shorter… Oh, of course, I was in Brazil.
 Tanghulu or bingtanghulu is a traditional Chinese snack consisting of fruits coated in melted sugar.