Spring is basically here.  I don't know when spring is "officially" here, but it looks like spring outside... or at least the end of winter, since it's brown and not green.  I say it is spring because the snow and ice is gone.  There haven't been any surprise snow falls either.  There are a few piles left over that used to be huge, like the kind you find in the back corner of a parking lot, and that have been slowly melting.

I also say this because it has been at least 80 degrees inside for the last week or so.  It's still cold outside, just a little above freezing so when you decide to go outside you have to be smart.  These are my recommendations for anyone who sweats: (Apparently some people do not sweat easily!)

Lay out your outside clothes, shoes, socks, jackets, sweatshirts, thick pants, thermals (thermals only if you're going out for a long time).  Then two minutes before you actually go outside put on all your clothes as fast as you can and race outside, down the elevator and out the door.  But don't forget your keys.

I recommend leaving your jacket unzipped and your hat off until you go outside.  In the dead of winter this isn't a good idea, you can put your hat on in the elevator before you go outside.  You can put your gloves or mittens whenever you want since your hands don't generate much heat.

If you're like me, a sweat machine, from the time you put on your outside clothes to the the time you get outside, roughly 3.5 minutes if you're fast, you'll already be hot by the time you're completely outside, sweat droplets will already be forming at the back of your neck.  Let the steam vent out of the front of your unzipped and open jacket for a good ten to twenty seconds until you actually feel cold, don't wait too long though.  Once you zip up, you're body will heat up the inside of your jacket and hat in about a minute, and you will have minimized your perspiration output.

Keep in mind that sweat is very undesirable in the cold, avoid it!  Sweat makes you colder when it hits the air outside.  First you're boiling hot, then you're cold, wet, and freezing!

After you're zipped up your jacket and put your hat on, as you walk down the sidewalk, you'll start to notice the weak areas in your armor.  It's different with everyone, and different items of clothing have different weak spots too.  You may also notice "hot zones" where there's more insulation than you need.

Having hot zones can help balance out the colder parts. (Think of your body as a liquid heated system where your blood is warmed in some areas and cooled in others, like a heat transfer.)  You may need to vent your extra heat from time to time to prevent "sweat zones" which will inevitably become "ice zones."  But you won't get "ice zones" right now because it's basically spring.  Now you'll just get a little chilly and your immune system might be compromised, in other words you might catch a cold.

But soon the days will be warmer outside and we'll be able to wear sandals and shorts outside and those "sweat zones" will just become "gross sticky zones."  But I guess some people don't perspire that easily.  Maybe it's most people, maybe it's about a billion people who live here.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm often the butt of awkward praise here in Northern China for being sweaty year-round.  When it's -25 degrees outside and I come in and peel off my 3-inch thick down jacket revealing that my tee-shirt is damp and stuck to me people are just all kinds of amazed at, and often commenting on, my chubby and hot blooded body.

But don't worry I try not to let it go to my head.