Earlier this month Fayetteville set a record-low temperature of 13 degrees Fahrenheit. As everyone was talking about how cold it was, I couldnít help but smile to myself thinking about how great it was that the record low was only 13 degrees.

You see, for the past five years winter weather ruled my life in a way this Arizona native never though it could.

During my days in the desert, weather consisted of hot and hotter, only to be interrupted by monsoon season in late summer and several weeks of ďcoldĒ weather in winter, when the temperature hovered around 60 degrees.

It wasnít until I moved to central Wisconsin in 2009 that I understood the impact weather has on our lives. Battling blizzards, snow storms, ice storms, freezing rain and extremely low temperatures changed me in ways I never would have imagined.

Weather tested my limits, it made me a stronger person, it took me to my lowest points, and it made me learn to lean on others for support.

The 15-inches of overnight snowfall, -15 degree air temperature, and icy road conditions were all pretty terrible things to have to deal with. But by far, the most difficult part of the cold, long winters was the cabin fever.

Leaving the house for purposes other than work became an arduous task. Venturing out into the cold to meet a friend for dinner or to go to the movies became far less appealing. It, in fact, became a chore. I had to put on three or four layers of clothing, deice and brush the snow off my car, shovel the snow from around the car, and drive in treacherous conditions to get where I was going, only to get there and take off several layers of my clothing, trod around in snow boots and spend just enough time there for my car to ice over/get snow covered all over again. To me, it was not worth it.

Living alone didnít help either. I would go an entire weekend cooped up inside the warm walls of my apartment, leaving and exposing myself to the depressed winter conditions that awaited me beyond my front door only if absolutely necessary. I would have spent all my evenings and weekends like this, which is pretty physically and emotionally unhealthy, had it not been for the incredible friends I made in Wisconsin.

My friends forced me to leave my house and brave the cold and snow. And when I absolutely did not want to, they braved it for me and kept me company at my place. Many bottles of wine were consumed and conversations had throughout those unbearably cold days. Our friendships were deepened and we learned to rely on each other.

I made the move to Fayetteville this month and although I am thrilled that I donít have to face obscene winter-weather conditions, I am saddened to not have the warmth of my friendships.

Iím optimistic about my life here, itís hard not to be when the days are sunny and near 60 degrees in January. Iíve also already met some great people and I look forward to how my friendships with them will bloom.