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Ice Ice Baby

December 6, 2010

Last Wednesday, we got our first snow in Kirovograd. On Thursday I laced up my boots, took a scary marshrutka ride to work, and walked around with warm feet while observing the girls in their high heels, sliding down the hill by the library. In fact, my feet were hot because the boots I brought are 1200 gram Thinsulate!

That same day, I was told that by the weekend, there would be rain instead of snow. I was not happy about that news. Having lived for many years in Minnesota, I know what rain in December means – bad news. I told the person who said it was good that no, what it will mean is that the day after the rain, the temperature will drop, and everything will be covered in a layer of ice, which will stay until, say, March.

But hey, we’re in Ukraine, right? MAYBE it will be different here.

True to the forecast, it rained on Saturday. However, by Sunday morning, the rain had turned to snow, and indeed, there was a layer of snow on the ground, over the layer of ice from the rain. This was joined by a little more snow last night – we are not getting any significant amounts here, just enough so that it is white instead of grey outside.

But despite the snow and ice on the ground, this morning I left my room with my “sneakers” on instead of my boots. Maybe not the wisest decision, but I am so not ready to wear my boots constantly for the next three or four months. And what did I see outside as I walked? Hoar frost covering everything, and that layer of ice still on the ground. It was really pretty. But what did it mean? It meant it was cold enough for that layer of ice to still be everywhere. Luckily for me, I have those years spent in a state where there is also a layer of ice on the ground all winter, so I did not immediately wipe out. I trod carefully, like a kitty cat, across the ice. So while I was not able to reach full walking speed, I was going faster than a turtle.

So, I sit here with cold feet, thinking it seems that winter is following the Ukrainian schedule of seasons, and has arrived to stay. My experience when I arrived, though, is that spring does not follow this schedule…why is it that only the cold months come “on time” and the warm ones are delayed?

The good news about all this is, because of the bundling up against the cold, I “look” more like a Ukrainian now…until they see my mittens. I have not seen anyone over the age of 6 wearing mittens here, except me. Well, I guess there will always be a giveaway…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. anna lvova permalink
    December 6, 2010 7:31 am

    hey, i know one girl who has mittens like you!!! i will meet yo uwith her!!!

  2. anna lvova permalink
    December 6, 2010 7:35 am

    During winter: i offer you:

    • December 6, 2010 7:55 am

      Too bad I don’t have someone to keep me warm during the cold, dark winter!

  3. Lisa permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:21 am

    I would think the sneakers would be the giveaway that you’re not European. They always indicate Americano.

  4. December 6, 2010 1:05 pm

    Lisa – they are black so they don’t shout Americano. And actually, Adidas are very popular here.

  5. December 6, 2010 3:40 pm

    I have been meaning to ask you about boots. I am having a hard time finding business appropriate, black, calf high and insulated boots here. What do you have and where did you find them? Do you just where the boots to work and change your shoes?

    • December 7, 2010 1:29 am

      Hey Amy – you can feel free to send any questions to my e-mail, To be honest with you, I did not care about wearing my boots during the day – I am more concerned with being able to walk outside. So I personally wear boots and bring my shoes. Other volunteers buy boots here, and others still bought boots in the U.S., which they wear here. So it is an individual decision. If you join prior PCV Ukraine groups, you can see discussions relating to boots and shoes – I joined a few to see what people had talked about and what the advice turned out to be.

  6. Mom permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:24 pm

    So glad you are adjusting to winter. Our 14 inches of snow last weekend will make it a White Christmas for sure. We had a winter wonderland of ice on the trees prior to that but the snow has covered it. (Imagine awakening to a winter storm in a southern climate that doesn’t have snow removal.) We are all wearing our storm gear these days…..

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