Now that I'm afraid to leave the house with wet hair or fewer than two pairs of pants on and puddles have started to look suspiciously solid, I feel I took the beautiful Berlin and Northeast summer months for granted. To bake cakes and enjoy them on a picnic blanket! - rather than hoarding the calories with a hot cup of tea as though the extra blubber might actually make any difference against the cold whip of frosted breeze.
What gets me each year in Berlin more than the cold is the lack of daylight; by 4 p.m. it is pitch-black and yet, even though it feels like bedtime, there are still things to be done. Rolling out of bed in the morning becomes a progressively later and lazier affair. Your only solace is Glühwein and the fact that you can eat as many Christmas cookies as you want because no one can tell if you've gained weight under all those layers.
These endless dark abysses of winters are good for at least one thing, though: contemplation. Life has the most meaning when there is suffering to be had, even if it's mostly a self-imposed pity party based on little more than an extreme aversion to low temperatures.