But it's not just the novelty of falling snow and frozen puddles. Furnaces, steam radiators and heating oil bills can be just as bewildering. On occasion, misunderstandings about heating systems and cultural and language barriers can create conflicts with landlords, city officials say.
To prepare newly arrived immigrants for winter, the Portland's Social Services division offers monthly "winter workshops," with lessons on how to dress properly, what to do in cases of frostbite, how heating systems work and the cost of heating fuels. The classes are held at the city's Refugee Services Program at 190 Lancaster St. The next class is on Dec. 28.