One way to enjoy winter

img_2493I spent this past weekend in Tremblant in Canada (about 90 minutes from Montreal). The older three children and I tagged along with my husband, who’d been in Canada for work. The boys skied and went snowboarding. I don’t ski, though I enjoy some of the people watching in ski resorts. I spent the mornings working and at the gym. Anyway, the highlight for me was in the afternoons, getting in our swimsuits and going into the hotel’s hot pool outside. It wasn’t quite hot tub hot — the temperature worked to be in for an hour each day. Getting from the door to the pool in a swimsuit was bracing, but then it felt nice to be in an outdoor pool in January! The first afternoon, the snowflakes fell thick. There was something lovely about the contrast between warm body and cold face (some people were actually wearing ski caps in the pool!) The second afternoon it wasn’t snowing, and I decided to order a glass of wine while I was watching the kids.

When I wrote about “The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter” last year, one of the take-aways was that flipping the switch from enduring to enjoying requires focusing on things you can only do in winter. Being outside, feeling the cold on one’s face and looking at the snow, while sitting in a hot pool, enjoying a nice beverage, would fall into that category.

And now it’s only 6 more weeks until the daffodils are up…

Post script: I wrote the above at the airport in Montreal before heading home. We got off the plane in PHL in Terminal F, with my car in Terminal A — not close. So my husband and the boys took the shuttle bus to retrieve the car in Parking Garage A, while my daughter and I went to get our bags. We retrieved them…then realized we were the only people there, and no cars could get to Terminal F, because protesters had basically shut down the airport around us. I am very grateful to the PHL airport employees who helped my daughter and me identify a place where my husband could get to from the garage (once he and the boys waded through the protesters and police), and then carried our bags over to an island by the exit booths. My daughter was very cooperative, standing right there by all the traffic, keeping as still as I told her to, and eating crackers while I flagged my husband down. Very glad to get out of there.

26 thoughts on “One way to enjoy winter

  1. Laura, I enjoy your writing and have purchased several of your books. I hope you will take under consideration that your postscript comes off as a bit tone deaf. These people are protesting because families are being separated and people with legal standing to be here are being prevented from entering the country. I’m sure it inconvenienced you coming home from a lovely family trip, but please think of the bigger picture here.

    1. A friend of mine is an Iranian PhD student in the US – he cannot safely return to Iran for political reasons. He was in Canada for a conference and only returned to the US a few days before the travel ban took effect – I hate to think of what he would have gone through had his re-entry been blocked, and what he is now going through as he faces not being able to leave the US – whether to see family or for career reasons – in case he can’t get back in. We take international mobility for granted these days – for work, for holidays – but the world is changing fast -and sadly not for the better.

    2. @Khar- I understand why people are protesting. Of course I do. I also think that causing hundreds, maybe thousands, of people to miss flights, when those people are just going about building their businesses, doing their jobs, and seeing their families, and sowing much confusion among people who are landing internationally, scaring international visitors who can’t get to their rides, is problematic too. There are places and ways to protest that don’t hurt people who have nothing to do with it.

      1. I’m with Khar. I don’t think you’re as insensitive as you sound, but you do come off as very cavalier. If not airports, where are people supposed to demonstrate? Mountains? Suburbs? If I were being denied entry, I would feel a small amount of solace to see that I had allies fighting on my behalf. And obstructionist tactics–civil disobedience–is a time-honored, visible way to say, “This is not OK.” I hope airport demonstrations last longer and create more chaos. Maybe that’s the only way change will come about.

      2. I thought it was okay – what I picked up on was your gratitude to the PHL employees in the middle of a difficult situation for everyone. Kindness and gratitude is always appropriate 🙂

        1. @Byrd- the airport employees are great professionals. I am grateful to them, and police officers and others who do their jobs in difficult situations. Kindness and courtesy are beautiful things.

      3. Well, at least you and your children were not detained because of your country of origin.

        I am glad people are protesting – but I am sorry you were caught in the midst of it (I am sure it was stressful).

  2. Ahh winter. I hope I can enjoy it as well. In my part of the world, we don’t have Winter. But still, I always make it a point to go outside as the season changes. You’ll notice the subtle differences. The color of the sky changes as well as the wind. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Very well (and politely) put Khar – I am sure it made the end of your journey more stressful Laura, but those people are there for a reason. Watching in dismay from Europe I am relieved to see so many decent people standing up for the America I know and love from many visits.

  4. We are headed to Tremblant in March. I love to ski, so I’ll spending my mornings differently. I enjoyed your preview of our upcoming vacation.

    1. @Griffin – thanks. Definitely do the hot pools! I never really learned to ski growing up, so then it wasn’t something that I felt comfortable with later. I took a lesson and realized I just don’t like going fast down mountains in the cold…which is kind of the point of skiing.

  5. So glad you made it to Canada! There are loads of great resorts close-ish to you on the eastern seaboard. If you’re headed back, let me know and I’ll give you some recommendations.

  6. I have bought most of your books. I even bought 168 Hours twice, because I left it on a plane and couldn’t not finish it! I found it hugely helpful. And at some point I learned your political views differed from mine, and that is ok (and, in fact, a good thing! I want to hear from people with different world views.) I am sure you were inconvenienced, and it is kind to commend the staff for good work in a tough situation. Yet the way it was expressed left me feeling … uncomfortable. You’re not obligated to share (or have) any set of views on the protests, true. I guess feel, again, uncomfortable … because entry to the US is truly life or death for some, and refugees are often cut off from children or parents forever. It is hard to hear complaints about inconvenience to a child in the context of people who leave everything to save their children. Self-help is a values laden genre, and I have to weigh how I feel about the person giving advice (and how that person might feel about me).

  7. @Laura – we are going to Mont Tremblant in early April. Hope there will still be a bit of snow left for the kids to go skiing as well. I’ll be relaxing with the toddler 🙂 (As relaxing as that can ever be!)

    You are a brave woman to even mention the airport protests without slavish devotion to the cause. Actually, I quite understand and support the idea of protesting the EO – that is people’s right in a democratic society. One of the things I don’t understand or support is the way these same protesters (or those who admire them) come down like a hammer if you don’t fully share their views or approach. I guess we should all love refugees (have no problem with that; I’m an immigrant myself) but can’t stomach fellow citizens who might have different views on how to approach the issue. Also known as: “we love everybody! Unless you don’t agree with us!”

  8. Laura, you and I were both fortunate enough to be born in this country. We can enter and exit as we please. I’d like to ask you to take just a moment and contrast how you were treated by the wonderful airport employees with what the detained individuals experienced, many of which were held with their terrified children for hours on end. All this based solely on where we were lucky enough to be born. This is why individuals believe your postscript may be tone-deaf. If it inconvenienced you or scared your daughter, please take just a moment to think about what those other families experienced and realize it pales in comparison.

    1. I did not express myself well earlier because I was so surprised. It was the defense comment more than the original post that stopped me in my tracks. It was so surprising to me that I think perhaps I misinterpreted, and would love to know. The protests HAD to be at the airports to stop the worst of the potential abuses. Time was of the essence. Would DHS have changed course and allowed greencard holders to come home to their families if the protests had been ten miles off? (First they came for the green card holders– but I did not speak out, because it might have inconvenienced vacation travelers…) The inconvenience you suffered may have allowed another parent to come home to his/her family. Or saved the life of a refugee child.

      Family life is a big part of your books; feeling gratitude for a full life, and the ups and downs that entails, seemed to be another. You are a talented writer, and I would love to hear more about your thinking here, so I do not put too much stock in a few blog posts. I assume you were not actually thinking that your family’s convenience was more important than refugee family lives. I did not take your books as advising a. “me (and my family) first and others be damned” attitude. But I am less likely to consume self-help literature when I have a nagging discomfort with the writer’s feelings on issues core to the writing. (To be clear, though tossed around casually, refugee is a legal term that refers to specific classes of highly vetted individuals; “refugee” has different legal significance from asylum seeker, for example. Asylum seekers have not been pre cleared. And of course green card holders are vetted legal residents.)

      — a long time and slightly distraught fan

      1. Thank you for these comments, as well as earlier feedback to this post as well.
        To Laura: You’ve been a role model for me, and I am quite a fan of your books and this blog. I was rather shocked to see this post and your replies (or the lack thereof). That last phrase to the first comment – “don’t hurt people who have nothing to do with it.” really made me look again. That said, people make mistakes. I know how frustrating it is to be in that kind of situation – I actually came back from one myself with my kids too. I can’t say I wouldn’t have complained in that same situation with those same words, if not more. Thus I can sympathize for the venting. But at the same time I believe you are a professional on record, in a position of influence as an author of a national best-selling book. The way you wrote that post has sparked pushback of a scale and intensity that I haven’t seen before on the blog, that much is true. Perhaps what I was expecting from a professional such as you, would be some kind of explanation in a new post, to at least respond to the feedback here. That’s what I’ve seen you do with other posts when there is large feedback or demand for more to a particular topic in one of her posts.
        Laura, I’d love to see you take the responsibility for what you say, as you seem to have done in the past with follow-up posts.

  9. I’d like to add my voice to those who are pushing back on your tone deaf postscript about the airport protest. Reading your blog is starting to feel like cognitive dissonance – you are not describing the same world I am living in and it is making it harder to connect with your message. Protests aren’t meant to be convenient and they weren’t protesting at you. I’m glad airport staff were able to help your family, I wish the detained families had been able to go home safely too. Instead families that went through the extensive vetting process and other legal immigrants are being separated and continue to be unsafe. You presented an image that your family’s inconvenience is more important than the safety of these families, even if that was not your intention. I’m having a hard time with that.

  10. Laura, I am aware that people’s entire careers and lives have been ruined by one comment that was not meant to be offensive via social media shaming, and I don’t want that for you or anyone else. I supported you when you said that you wrote in your vote for President because I believe we should all be able to vote for whomever we like, without coercion from others. I don’t believe that you or your mission are inherently connected with a vote for Hillary. I must admit that I’m a bit surprised by your account at the airport and response to the first commenter because I generally admire your ability to see the bigger picture and understand the relativity of pain/inconvenience- i.e. the trip to Canada included a fiasco getting your car at the airport, but it was worth it to make the most of winter weather, and at least you all made it home together without major delay or separation.

  11. Laura – some of the comments here remind me of this opinion piece. Especially this part: “The impulse to police everything — every work of art, every Facebook post, every prayer — to make sure it comports with the acceptable political opinion of the moment corrupts everything. It warps religion. It destroys art. It ends relationships. Subordinating everything to politics is inhuman.” (I’m not normally a National Review reader but I’ve been reading everything from left to right lately.)

  12. Rinna raises a fair point. But my own comments, at least, are more akin to a pre-breakup talk than a police action. As a reader, I have a relationship of sorts with LV. A reader’s relationship with a lifestyle/self-help writer is like that with a trusted older friend or mentor–it isn’t like the relationship a reader might have with a writer on NRO or The Atlantic. If a respected mentor suddenly made me so deeply uncomfortable that I felt I could no longer take her advice, I would arguably owe her an explanation (and a chance to explain, if she wanted, especially if there’s a real chance I misinterpreted). The analogy only goes so far– LV has no personal relationship with me, and if only one less person buys her next book it probably doesn’t matter to her. But I don’t think I am the only one in her target market that feels that way. I guess I could also write to the cookie company that changed my favorite recipe, but I feel more of a connection and obligation to a much liked author.

  13. We went to the Atlanta protest (Sunday afternoon, not the initial reaction). Prior to that I’d read a blog post on making the same point you make in your comment above, LV — that protesting would only serve to alienate travelers who had nothing to do with the executive order. What I observed at ATL was greater crowds, but not particularly disruptive ones — the protesters were mostly centered just outside South Terminal and dropoff/pickup traffic continued to flow. (The City of Atlanta police did a very good job making sure both car and pedestrian traffic could move.) The biggest disruption was probably on MARTA, which had to deal with much bigger crowds than it usually does on a Sunday afternoon, but that was more a function of the size of the crowd than the reason for it (we’re going to have similar issues if we get to throw a victory parade for the Falcons, for instance).

    To your point, I’m not sure there’s *any* way to assemble a large crowd so that it doesn’t “hurt people who have nothing to do with it.” I mean, when you run a road race, people are inconvenienced by the closure of the roads involved. That’s kind of one of the things we’re all supposed to take for the team for living in a country with the right to free assembly held sacred.

    I would have found it stressful to negotiate a familiar place where the usual routes were closed off, with the family split up to boot. The venting is understandable. Given the context, though, it does come off as self-absorbed in an off-putting way.

  14. I too enjoy your writing and am grateful for the work that you put out into the universe for others to benefit from. I also agree with others who have said that your post-script was insensitive. I even found your reply to the previous comments to be insensitive. I wonder if you’ve considered that the people protesting likely had other things they would have rather been doing. And yet, they sacrificed their work time, family time, vacation time, relaxation time to show up at an airport to speak up for the most vulnerable in our world. I am grateful for all who have been protesting (as I have been in my own community) because I know first-hand what a challenge it can be to show up at a protest in the first place. It seems that your experience was a great opportunity to teach your children about privilege and the responsibility we all have to stand up for the less powerful (I’m not saying you didn’t do exactly this, just that all of us have had opportunities over these past weeks to teach our children these messages). Perhaps the message of your most recent article about finding satisfaction in re-framing winter applies well here. What a blessing to live in a country where people are willing (and allowed) to show up at an airport to help people who are being unjustly persecuted. And what a gift to be handed all of these opportunities to teach our children about empathy, justice, and the responsibilities we all have as citizens of the world.

  15. Laura, I’ve read most of your books, tracked all my time for a week (I now just track work and sleep), and given one of your books to a friend who is currently tracking her time. I’ve enjoyed the little snippets of your life that you’ve shared. It’s encouraging to know that your own time management is a work in progress.
    I read that last paragraph from both a time management and a personal point of view. The disruption of schedules was mind-boggling, the fear felt by travelers touching, and the actions of the employees laudable. I thought that you were very wise to keep the political topic out of the picture so that readers could focus the effects of the situation, not the cause.
    Usually, I skim the comments, but these I read completely. Twice. I sadly agree with Rinna who notes that so many of those protesting and supporting protests are unwilling to hear other points of view. I’m experiencing that in my own life.
    Laura, I look forward to your future books.

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