Winter is Coming

I recognize that entries such as this come from a place of privilege. You could even describe the condition as overindulged (a nicer word for ‘spoiled’), no doubt the result of being American. I think only my fellow expats understand this. When I try to talk about it with Theo, he sort of just rolls his eyes.

Many things in Melbourne are just a little bit harder than in Miami. Here’s one more for that list.

I missed winter last year. By the time winter was rolling around in Melbourne, my three-month visa was coming to an end. I returned to Miami and I left again just as winter was settling in there. Miami had a mild winter, as it usually does. A cold front comes through and people pull out their sweaters for a few days. Then the temperature goes back up until the next cold front.

I’ve been back in Melbourne for about two weeks now and it’s been cold. Not freezing cold, but enough to warrant layers and even coats and scarves. It gets colder at night. It’s also rained most days and I realize that those people who said that it never rains in Melbourne were lying.

We have a heater, but no central heating, which is as common in Melbourne as not having central cooling. On cold days, we do a dance of opening and closing certain doors to control the air flow (we do this on hot days too actually and with windows as well). On cold nights, we have no choice but to resort to layers of clothing, extra blankets, and maybe a hot water bottle to warm the bed. This is basically normal in Melbourne, where the temperature can drop to 0°C (32°F). This is one example of “everything is just a little bit harder here”. While heating is less common, I don’t know a single person in Miami without some kind of cooling system.

Many Aussies will say it’s about conserving energy. What they really mean is saving money because energy is outrageously expensive. I’m confident that if energy were cheap, the green argument would quickly lose steam.

It’s only fall. Winter is coming. Already it’s dark at about 5pm. Having lived in Miami all my life, I don’t really know what it means to be cold, really cold. I’m  not looking forward to finding out.

About the featured image: By James Thomas Photography




  1. I do understand your viewpoint here- I would definitely fall in the “overindulged” category when it comes to my experiences of central heating and homes that are well constructed (doors and windows are plumb- no cracks letting in the cold around them) as well as homes that are well-insulated.

    That being said, I rejoice in winter here because it is so much milder than a Chicago one. I rode my bike this morning– I wouldn’t dream of doing that in late November in Chicago! My midwest background is helping here, but even I can’t get excited about homes without central (vented) heating!

  2. Same here, spent the last 20 years or so up north, I grew up in Charleston SC so I remember mild winters, Loving it here in Adelaide this winter (LOL) last winter here I wore shorts and flip flops all or most of the winter here. Trish just shakes her head at it and laughs while she puts on her jacket

  3. Come on down or is it up? who the heck knows lol last year i think the lowest it got was like 8’c . I guess you could get some sleeping bags from LL Bean next time you go back to the States.

  4. Cosette, it’s a shame you didn’t spend a few years in Scotland before moving to Melbourne. I loved the Floridian weather, and froze when we moved to Glasgow, but now I am acclimatized to Scottish weather, I find Melbourne weather simply heavenly!

    Mind you, both my husband and I agree that in our next Melbourne house, we’ll have reverse cycle central heating. Melbournians like to think it doesn’t get cold enough for central heating, but I now know we were kidding ourselves. A lot of the newer properties have reverse cycle central heating. Maybe you should move. 🙂

    • This house is much loved so I don’t think we’re going anywhere, but yes, I think reverse cycle heating and cooling may be in our future.

  5. We get all four seasons in NY–chilly autumns, very cold winters, chilly/mild springs, and humid, sticky hot summers. I absolutely love the variation in seasons because it’s all I’ve known growing up. When I moved to Madrid, winter over there was definitely more mild but it still got pretty cold, cold enough for it to snow in the surrounding mountains (yet we never got the snowstorms that are infamous in the Northeast).

    I can’t imagine living in Florida year round, where it probably doesn’t get colder than the 40s?

    • Right, Amelie, it doesn’t get very cold in South Florida. That’s why all these Yankees and Canadians migrate there in the winter, haha! I’m not a big fan of very cold winters, but it’s definitely nice to have a a more defined autumn and spring. South Florida has seasonal changes too, but they’re very subtle. Certainly no dramatic leave changes or big blossoms.

  6. As a native Minnesotan, I can definitely confirm that Melbourne never gets truly cold. It’s all in your head. :-p

  7. It’s my first winter in Australia too. For me it’s a little depressing that Christmas isn’t going to be in the middle of it. And I suppose as well I’m feeling the cold – not because it’s colder than a British Autumn/winter, but perhaps because I wasn’t -expecting- it.

    (This was my take on my first Aussie winter: )

    • Being from Miami, I’m accustomed to a mild Christmas, but there are some holiday-seasonal associations that take getting used to and feel strange to me. For example, Christmas, a holiday rooted in the winter solstice, is in summer. Easter, a holiday rooted in the spring equinox, is in the fall. Aussie Pagans celebrate Samhain in the fall, but Halloween is still on October 31, which is spring. Thanks for stopping by, for your comments, and leaving a link to your blog (on my way there!).

  8. Who told you it never rains in Melbourne? They lied, as you suspected! As for hot water bottles in your bed – most of us have electric blankets these days! I’m afraid you are in for a bit of a shock. It does get colder. It occasionally SNOWS in the Dandenongs, and even if it doesn’t quite snow, it feels like it might soon! Reverse cycle air conditioning is the right way to go if you don’t have ducted heating.

    • I’ve only met one person that uses an electric blanket. Most people I talk to don’t seem to have or use central heating (or cooling) or electric blankets because of the energy costs. Thankfully, it seems like it’s been a fairly mild winter and I’m surviving.

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