I managed to avoid winter all together when we lived in Cairo (hello seventy degrees in January!) which actually gave me a greater appreciation of having winter, if only to help me remember what time of year it was.
Winter in Baku wasn't very bad either; the whole city was on a peninsula stuck out in the Caspian so the temperatures never got too cold. It didn't get very hot in the summer either, which was nice until you wanted to go swimming. Then it wasn't nice at all.
When we were assigned to Dushanbe, I got ready to finally have to deal with a real winter - what else could one expect in the most mountainous country in the world? After all, there are glaciers in this country. Glaciers mean cold - enough cold that not only does the snow not melt, there's enough to turn into ice that can flow down a mountain. It's one of my life goals to never live anywhere close to a glacier.
We got to Dushanbe in mid-November. Halfway through a walk the day we landed I had to strip off my jacket, mittens, and coat. Eleanor was slicked in sweat after being strapped to my front for the whole walk. A week of so later it snowed and got quite cold. Then it warmed up. One day the children and I gathered stares up and down our street as we promenaded in our shirtsleeves - in January. The locals thought that I was going to kill my children from exposure.
Last week it started snowing. "Oh great!" I thought, "Time for winter to finally begin! Then I can finally feel that I'm tough and able to handle anything." Then the snow melted and it warmed up to the fifties again. This morning it started snowing. We got about two inches - which melted by dinner. I checked the forecast for this week and the highs are bouncing between upper forties and lower fifties. Yesterday we took a drive to find some snow. Everyone ended up eating their snacks in shirtsleeves again, enjoying sunshine that seemed more suited to early March than late January. Boys by the side of the road were selling flowers. The grass was a verdant green.
So it turns out that winter here is more like 'winter.' No weeks of sub-freezing temperatures or feet of snow to shovel off my driveway. Most of the time our radiators heat the house without needing any help from the split-packs. The biggest hardship is having to stay inside when it rains.
But I'm not complaining. I know where to find snow if I ever need it (I'm not sure when that would be), and there's enough winter to make spring enjoyable, but not so much that everyone suffers from vitamin D deficiencies. The children are happy, Brandon is happy, and I'm okay with it. One out of six isn't too bad.