A surprising amount of our assessment process involved questions about how we will handle the extreme climate we will be moving to. And family and friends have been equally curious whether we really understand just how cold it will be in Calgary.
And the short answer is, No, we can't know. Amber and I have never lived north of Dallas, TX!
So what makes us think we can handle the snow, ice and subzero temps?
FIRST THINGS FIRST - WHAT'S THE WEATHER ACTUALLY LIKE?
Let's not kid ourselves - Calgary can be very very cold! The average high in January is 30*F and the average low is 8*F. Of course those are just averages. Each winter, temperatures hit -15*F, and sometimes even lower!
Summer temps are PERFECT. The average high in July is 74*F, and the average low is 50*F (that's a typical winter day in Florida!)
Calgary also gets a lot of snow; the city averages 51 inches of the white stuff each year. Typically snow/frost happens from October to May, but it can snow EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. (Yes, even in July!)
SO WHAT'S THE PLAN? HOW WILL WE HANDLE THE TRANSITION FROM FLIP-FLOPS TO SNOW BOOTS?
It starts with our CALLING. We know God has called us to Calgary. And while we understand that living there won't be easy, our calling carries more weight than the snow accumulating on the lawn. When the sky is dark, the temperature is cold, and everything is wet with slush, we will remind ourselves that we are here because God knew we could handle it.
It also comes down to PERSPECTIVE.
Yesterday, Christians were beheaded in the Middle East. Last year, ISIS made refugees out of millions of Christ's followers. Children are starving in Africa, and closer to home I know a two-year old girl who is bravely battling through aggressive cancer.
Somebody punch me if I complain about the weather.
Finally, our coping strategy will rely on EMBRACING the elements.
Amber and I love to ski, and years ago we bought our own equipment - even though we live in Florida! (What can I say... We had more money than sense!) But now, we can put that equipment to good use. We can celebrate the snow and the cold, at least for a few years!
Some folks who made the move from the states to Canada told us the pattern usually goes like this: Years 1-2: The climate is different and exciting. Year 3: The weather is something you tolerate. Year 4: It becomes a real struggle. We will deal with year 4 when we get there.
Perhaps our outlook is naive. We really don't know how difficult it will be. But I am certain that we could not allow ourselves to be talked out following God because of the weather!