Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Week 20

So, the thing about winter I had conveniently forgotten not having experienced a true winter in a long time, is that it just keeps going.  And going.  And going.  It starts inconspicuously enough.  One weekend you’re in shorts, the next in jeans, but you don’t really mind because those jeans look pretty good.  Occasionally the spring jacket comes out as the sunlight slowly diminishes.  The anticipation of Christmas is a welcome distraction and then, all of the sudden, you can’t remember the last time you wore short sleeves and your tank tops are buried in the drawers beneath new sweaters.  New Year’s passes, resolutions quickly forgotten, and the dark days are dismal.  But, the snow comes next and for a moment, it’s bright and fun and exciting and beautiful.  The dark days don’t matter because you have a new red sled full of four year old giggles.  Then it’s gone. Just like that.  The snow turns to dirty sludge and leaves a thick layer of dried mud on everything, including your new coat.  The sparkle of snowflakes on the branches, on your soul even, gone.  But winter?  No.  It’s still here.  Hovering.  Like an unwanted houseguest.  In your favorite chair.  Settling in, oh so comfortably.  Living abroad has been a learning experience on so many levels, but perhaps the lesson most pertinent this week is living with winter.  And so, I will say a few words about Winter Gear.   

Winter Gear Lesson #1:  Wool pea coats from the Gap don’t cut it.  Recently, I searched for the perfect winter coat to replace that very pea coat I had owned for four years.  I was determined to find something very warm, but also unique.  When I looked , the only thing I saw women wearing around here were pea coats and black down parkas.  Well, after a few weeks of precursory glancing and then a couple of hours of intensely searching January sales on Oxford Street, I finally decided that the ridiculously poofy down parka was, in fact, for me.  Because the one I selected was tan in color, or champagne as I like to call it, and the black belt gave it . . . well, not exactly a pear shape, more of a swollen eggplant shape really, rather than a pumpkin shape I feared, it was different enough for me.  Seriously though, there is a reason why everyone is wearing this coat.  It is damn warm.  

Winter Gear Lesson #2:  I didn’t stop there.  Oh no.  In the same outing I purchased a down vest, because well, I’ve always wanted one.  And if you can’t go for a hike in the muddy Heath without a down vest, where can you really?  

Winter Gear Lesson #3:  Long underwear is an absolute must.  Multiple pairs.  However, tights underneath long underwear, underneath a pair of jeans is NOT a good idea when running after Liam to school.  Chafing . . . . . well . . . . I will leave it at that.

Winter Gear Lesson #4:  Somehow, wrapping a wool scarf around my neck is cozy and wonderful.  On the other hand, wearing wool socks inside a pair of boots is like putting your foot inside a red ant hill.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact I bought the lovely scarf in Edinburgh and the socks from Gap.  Which brings me to:

Winter Gear Lesson #5:  Truly, the more money you throw at Winter Gear, the better.  Typically this is not my mantra.  In this case, it’s true.

Winter Gear Lesson #6:  Wellies in snow are not warm.  Wellies are also not good for any amount of walking farther than to the grocery store and back.  My feet were bloody after the week of snow we had.

Winter Gear Lesson #7:  I literally have six different kinds of “therapuetic” lotion designed for very dry and irritated skin, including one of Norwegian Formula and 5 tubes of chapstick strategically placed in coat pockets, purses, camera bags, and back packs.  None of this matters.  My fingertips are still completely cracked wide open and lips still chapped.  Come on, Norway.  I expect more.

Winter Gear Lesson #8:  The good news is I never need to worry about bringing Liam perishable snacks because they stay perfectly chilled in my backpack.  And, no need for a wine fridge.  Our constant Flat temperature of f-ing freezing (that's in degrees celsius, if you're wondering) just happens to be the perfect temperature for wine.

Winter Gear Lesson #9:  Art, curtains, and accessories do not a home make.  A floor heater . . . now that’s the secret ingredient....not to mention it doubles as a warm little stool, because frankly in my flat, you'll pretty much need to sit on it.

Winter Gear Lesson #10:  When the 50 degree, rainy weather does finally return, it almost, almost feels like a balmy, Hawaiian day.  Sort of.  If you're trying to end the blog post on a positive note anyway.

Lots of indoor photos this week.  If you were wondering what day it is here, just check the knickers :)  This is the way we roll on Fridays.

IMG_3770 Week 20 IMG_3774 Week 201

We bought Liam a bike this weekend.  The smile on his face was so priceless.  He literally couldn't contain it.  I think it was the most genuinely happy he has been since we got here.  Out of all the things we left behind, his beloved bike is probably the one I felt the most guilty and emotional about.  It was his birthday present when he turned 4.  He rode it everyday.  We would take him to the track on the weekends and he would bust out 2 miles before we knew it just going round and round, as we looked on in complete amazement.  It was such a source of confidence for him and we would always ride with his 2 best little buddies so there was that emotional attachment as well.  It was so good to see him back on it.  We found a used bike here, EXACT same bike as home…same color and everything.  It was fate, no doubt ;)  This folks, is how we will make it through winter!

Week 204 Week 203 IMG_3792 IMG_3786
Love this kid.  Ridiculously messy hair and all.  
Week 202
Cheers and Happy Winter.

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