Paralyzing ice and snow storms continue to pummel much of the United States. Detroit had a record 39.1 inches of snow during the month of January, and even cities unaccustomed to the cold are locked in a chilly standoff with Mother Nature.
While the winter weather has wreaked havoc on highways, city services and school systems, it has also led to a pernicious effect on individuals. We spoke with Alessandra, in snowy Washington, D.C. (over 13 inches so far!) who’s been “battling a major case of cabin fever.”
Fortunately, she has decided to take the frigid weather head on. Alessandra is now finding solutions to the winter blues, including making daily Skype video calls to friends and family in warmer climes.
This is all new territory for Alessandra, as it is her first winter in North America. It is actually her first real winter, period. Born and raised in Brazil, she and her American husband relocated to D.C. last summer. And to add a level of complication, she is a graphic designer who works from home, which further restricts her contact with the outside world.
Alessandra explains, “I didn’t know what was going on at first, but I became really depressed. It was hard to work or to even try to adjust to my new life here. Also, as a Brazilian, we are accustomed to having so many friends and family around all of the time. And, suddenly, I’m stuck inside with no one around.”
She’s has now set a daily schedule for video calls with friends and family back in Rio de Janeiro and her best friend in Lisbon, Portugal.
Breakfast starts with a video chat with Ana in Lisbon to kick off her Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And, Alessandra says, “I have video calls with family in Rio almost every day during my afternoon coffee.”
“It’s not about just seeing people in places that are warm,” says Alessandra. “It’s about being in contact with friends in other places and remembering that it is a big world with lots of things happening, even when my life starts to feel no bigger than our apartment.”
She laughs, “I would be lying if I told you that I am now a fan of winter here. But I know it won’t last forever and I am finding ways to make it better.”
However, she concludes, “Carnaval starts in Rio at the end of February and I told my family no Skype video calls during Carnaval, only audio. Seeing all of the fun they are having will definitely make me too jealous.”