Jun-Li Wang did not love Minnesota winters. A native of California, she barely knew how to survive them. Then one year, she bought a winter hat from Eddie Bauer, one of those Elmer Fudd numbers with faux fur-lined ear flaps. “I only got it because I had a coupon,” Jun-Li says. Total spent: $10.
Just like that, everything changed.
That winter of 2014 was Minnesota’s coldest since 1996. The state was gripped by a polar vortex that turned the already-bracing cold even more frigid. In the Twin Cities, 52 nights temperatures below zero. Two feet of snow sat in frozen piles at the Minneapolis–Saint Paul airport. On January 6, the wind chill was 48 degrees below zero. And yet in her new hat, Jun-Li marveled, “I don’t feel cold!”
Proper headgear, she realized, was the key to feeling warm in a Saint Paul winter. But at this point, she had lived in the state for MORE THAN TEN YEARS. “I was mad at my husband because he should have bought me a hat,” she remembers. “I was mad at every Minnesotan I ever met. How come no one told me?”