Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sometimes it's just so cold!

I've been here over 3 years now, and I've been outside in -40º weather (that's the same in Celsius as in Fahrenheit!)  And I've gotten to the point where if it's warmer than -20º C (-4º F) I just don't think much about it.

But some days it just feels much colder!

I know there's wind and humidity to take into account, and I know these make a big difference.  0º C (32º F) here is just so much warmer than 0º C in my hometown or in Germany, where it's humid and often cloudy.  Here, it's often sunny and dry.  Very nice.

You also have to take clothing into account.  If it's above -20º C, as I said, I don't think much about it.  So I might not put on my super-insulated Columbia boots (not as attractive as my other boots...) or wear a balaclava (ski mask) and I definitely won't wear ski goggles!

Last night hovered between -11 and -15º C, and I wore my ankle-high fur-lined boots, thick tights, and my autumn coat, and I was fine.  My friend complained as we walked the 15-minute walk from my place to the British Embassy; she was wearing regular tights.

Today the temperature was about the same, I threw on regular tights and my knee-high fur-lined boots and Sophia and I went to church.  The church's heating system is barely there, and we were cold throughout Mass.

Then we took a bus to Congress Hall to buy tickets for upcoming concerts.  Still cold, we waited outside Congress Hall for Bus 32.

We waited for half an hour.

My first year here, I bought cheap fur-line boots that kept my toes warm in cold weather.  Those were cheaply made and fell apart after one winter; every winter since then I've tried to find a similar pair; I've spent more money but have yet to find something that keeps me warm.  (Other than my unattractive Columbia boots, which I reserve for colder weather.)

My toes froze then grew numb then burned.  Sophia had on her Columbia brand boots, but she hadn't laced them or even tightened the laces.  She didn't have a scarf, snowpants, or extra layer of pants.  We froze as we waited for the bus.  I jumped up and down and wiggled my toes.

Finally, I went to hail a taxi.  The first guy drove away (don't know why he had stopped in the first place...), the second asked for more than 500 Tenge (about $3.33), so did the third.  I guess they know it's cold so they can ask for a lot!  (500 Tenge is the usual price I pay, which is more than locals pay.)   When I was walking away, though, the third guy opened his door and asked me how much I wanted.  I said 500 Tenge, he agreed, we got in.

We had him drop us off near our home, and then, because we were cold, we did a silly thing--we ran!  The ground is covered with snow and ice, the wind is a fierce 32 kilometers per hour (19 mph) and we ran.  "Just don't trip!" I said to Sophia and I thought we were being careful.

We rounded a corner and --boom!-- she slipped and smashed her back straight into the pointy concrete corner.  She let out a wail I haven't heard from her in years.  It was too cold to stop, so we hurried inside.  In our apartment, I noticed that the concrete had managed to tear her super-thick winter coat and scratch her back.  Ouch!

And now we're inside, trying to get warm and get the strength to go back outside, brave this again.  We'll definitely dress more warmly!

But sometimes -16º just feels so much colder!!!

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