If I had a dollar for every time someone has said ‘But you’re from Sweden, you should be used to winter’ when I complain about winter in New Zealand, I’d have quite a few dollars. Yes, I do complain a lot, because I’m always cold, but that’s not the only reason why I don’t like the Wellington winter.
Also, Sweden is not always cold. Whenever I speak to people over here about being from Sweden, they always seem to think that Sweden has winter all year round. Well, let me tell you, that isn’t the case! Yes, winter is a lot colder over there, but that doesn’t mean we never get sunshine.
Here are the reasons why I don’t enjoy winter in Wellington.
The closest to snow you get is rain
But Sophie, why would you want snow if you’re always cold? Well, if I’m going to endure winter, there may as well be something pretty around to look at. I’m not into winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, but I still enjoy seeing the snow light up the night sky and trying to catch snowflakes with my tongue.
Snow just makes everything look so much prettier. In Wellington, it just rains and that’s pretty depressing to me. When it’s snowing, you can still walk outside without getting wet. Not so much when it’s raining.
There are no fun public holidays during winter in New Zealand
They celebrate Queen’s Birthday in winter here – whoop! Well, do you know what we celebrate during winter in Sweden? Lucia, Advent, Christmas and New Years. All pretty amazing things. I miss that so much.
The fact that there are so many things to celebrate during winter over there makes winter seem less unbearable. Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year, and I’ve never been able to celebrate it properly in Wellington. It’s just not the same when the sun is shining and people are having barbecues.
There is nothing to watch on TV during winter in New Zealand
Because The US have winter the same time Sweden does, we can sit inside and watch all the latest shows during winter. When it’s winter in New Zealand, it’s summer in the states. This means that all the good shows are on break, and you have to watch the lamer TV shows that they air in summer over in America.
Good heating in Wellington is not as common as in Sweden
To be fair, they’re getting a lot better at it these days. When I first moved to New Zealand, I was appalled at the standard of living. We had no double-glazed windows, no insulation and no heating at all really. The apartment we first lived in was pretty awful. Because we had free power, we used the oven to heat up the place. Terrible for the environment, I know! But there was nothing else we could do unless we wanted to freeze to death. Our house now has double-glazed windows, insulation and a heat pump, which I’m super thankful for.
The wind is absolutely awful, especially combined with rain
Sweden is not terribly windy, unless there is a storm of some sort. But Wellington is known for being the windy capital. During winter, that can be pretty horrible. The wind isn’t as bad now as it was when I first arrived (climate change anyone?) but when it’s there, it’s there to make your life a living hell.
You’ll look at the temperature and think ‘Oh, it’s 10 degrees outside, that’s not so bad!’ Then you walk outside and it feels like bloody Antarctica. You’ll wear 4 layers, and somehow the wind still seems to travel right through. Plus, when it’s raining at the same time you get the famous Wellington horizontal rain.
Umbrellas don’t work in Wellington. There is no point buying one because the wind will break it straight away. If you see someone with an umbrella in Wellington, you know they’re a tourist that doesn’t know better.
So there you have it. Swedish winter may be darker, colder and longer, but I still enjoy it more than the winter here. Plus, the colder and darker the winter, the better summer feels when it finally comes around.
What’s winter like where you are?