A few weeks pass without getting the answer. More and more people with peculiar hand warmers appear on the streets. Temperature drops below 8oC. What is 8oC? For a person raised in Poland where temperature at winter can be as low as -20oC it’s nothing, or so you thought. You’ve forgotten that there is one cardinal difference between your country and Southern China – heating. In Poland every house, school, office etc. has heating. Whenever you go out, you just need to go from heated point A to heated point B. In those conditions 8oC outside still feels pleasantly warm. With Zhejiang province it’s entirely different story. People here don’t use heating (it’s not like they don’t have it – A/C has this option). When you’re going to work, you need to be prepared that you’ll have to sit in this temperature for a few hours. You weren’t prepared though.
So here you are, sitting in the teachers’ office in the temperature around 6oC. Time passes by to the rhythm of your chattering teeth. In third hour you realize that you’ve practically lost feeling in your fingers and toes. You look at your colleague who doesn't seem to be bothered by the cold. She keeps dog hand warmer on her knees. Irritated and depressed you just blurt out: “why do you keep it?!” “It’s worm” she answers on reflex, evidently surprised by your question. You stare at her dully. She says “see yourself” and gives you her puppy. At this moment you experience sudden revelation. Since the hand warmer is powered by electricity which heats up fluid inside (something you didn’t spot before), it really is WARM. Unexpectedly all those cats, dogs, monkeys etc. cease to look so ridiculous. On the contrary they seem to have irresistible charm. The first thing you do after leaving school is buying one of those miraculous animals. Now you know. They are the key to survive winter in China.