“Alapaa!” People often exclaim as they enter the warm school building from the frigid outdoors.
Technically, in Inupiaq, “alapaa” simply means cold. But it is generally used as an expression that means “Wow, it’s ridiculously cold out!” or “It’s [insert expletive of choice here] cold out!” Accustomed to cold temperatures, people here don’t walk into a building saying “alapaa” when it is a mere zero degrees out. It has to be quite cold or windy for this expression to be used.
Personally, my “alapaa” threshold is usually about -20 degrees fahrenheit. With any temperature above -20° the minute it takes to run from our house to the school building doesn’t affect me too much. But when it hits -20°, by the time I reach the school door my face hurts because it’s so cold!
Today is the kind of day where you shout “ALAPAA!!!” as you enter a warm building, stomping your feet to warm them up. The real temperature outside is only -26°, but with windchill it feels like -52°! Thus, today is the type of day where all I want to do is curl up on the couch with the cat and a cup of coffee and read a good book.