A Rant About Winter(s)

Kind of hard to believe, but I think about winter quite a lot lately. 😉 I have been known for expressing the opinion that “I don’t like winter!“. Well, I’m slowly changing my mind…

o_O right?

What the heck has happened? Well… This country is doing strange things to me, as you might already have read here and here. Want another example? I went and did PHYSICAL ACTIVITY in the OUTDOORS! I hardly know myself anymore. 😉 But, well, I found some advantages of winter here. Behold:

Look Who's There! - We have a lot of occasion to see the moon at the moment

Look Who’s There! – We have a lot of occasion to see the moon at the moment. I like!

Sunset Glow - that was actually the direction facing away from the sunset!

Sunset Glow – that was actually the direction facing away from the sunset!

Winter Wonderland - things you get to see when you're about in Laajavuori

Winter Wonderland – The things you get to see when you’re out and about around Laajavuori (Jyväskylä)

As you can see these were taken while cross country skiing. It was my first try at it and I surprisingly liked it. Maybe because it went better than I had expected, but not without some sort of casualties:

PB and His Dad - I was the one with the camera, hence no proof of me falling (which I did)

PB and His Dad – I was the one with the camera, so there’s no proof of me falling, mwahahahaha!

But apart from beauty, and some slapstick fun, there are also very practical reasons to like the cold winters here:

Walking on Water - Ok, it's frozen, but still kinda cool!

Walking on the Jyväsjärvi – I hadn’t walked on a lake in 10 years!

The walking distance from home to university and downtown has gone down by about 15 minutes! Now I can just cut across the lake and be there in about half the time it usually takes. Yay!

But what makes the Finnish type of winter different from the Swiss (valley or city) type of winter is the snow. You see in Switzerland’s lower regions I experienced snow and temperatures mostly at just above 0°C. Of course it gets colder than that some days each winter, but for most of the season it’s around 0. Therefore the snow usually gets soft and slushy during the day, just to freeze over night and transform into a slippery icy coat. (The use of salt on streets and sidewalks doesn’t help much, as it only increases the problem of melting and freezing.) No wonder I resorted to walking during winter. Not much use, though, as I still used to fall several times each winter. Just by thinking about it I get that annoyed feeling again!

Here, however, temperatures are usually under 0°C, even during the day. The snow therefore stays in its cristalline form. It is, therefore, quite dry and pulvery. To me it’s more like sand than the annoying white slushy/frozen stuff I used to call snow back home. Apart from the fact that you can’t form snowballs, the other advantage is that it’s not slippery! So two of the most annoying attributes of winter do not occur here! I can happily use the bike (provided the snow isn’t too deep), which is what everyone does here. Remember that picture?

Wild Bycicle Parking - A Normal Sight After the Students Arrived

Wild Bycicle Parking – A Normal Sight After the Students Arrived

Here’s how the same spot looks like now:

Wild Bycicle Parking - 5 months after last picture was taken

Wild Bycicle Parking – 5 months after last picture was taken

The other day I even went out in my georgeous high heel overknee boots. They have very flat soles and in Switzerland I rarely wore them because of the aforementioned conditions. Here I was able to walk in them from home to downtown and back without much trouble (PB’s father used my bike while he was here). I slid maybe twice, but didn’t fall. I like this place!

EDIT: Well, kind of edit as I haven’t published the post yet, but anyway: Karma seems to be a bitch (I just don’t know yet what it was a bitch for). Just after writing the above I went out for dinner. As soon as I left the building I felt warm. The horror! This could only mean one thing! A glance at my new smartphone confirmed my fear: it was plus 2°C! I was unhappy.

The unhappiness started to increase as soon as I entered the city center. Slush! Grey slush! I was ready to cry. Only the delightful company that evening could lift my mood. That, however, lasted only until the next morning, when, as predicted, the streets and sideways were covered in ice. As was my bycicle’s lock. So I resigned to walking again. On the upside: I didn’t fall (yet).

On another, just slightly related note: I made a rug! As it’s in the shape of a snowflake, I thought I’d dedicate it to winter and hope he’ll turn up in all his cold glory again.

Winter Invocation Snowflake - let's hope it works

Winter Invocation Snowflake – let’s hope it works

I crocheted this according to the free pattern by Snowcatcher. I used a 15mm hook and two strands of shoelace like material. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn on the last 5% and had to buy a new skein (1kg). So now I have almost a whole ball of this left. I’ll probably make another rug, albeit a simpler one. Speaking of balls: While I was making this, AC/DC’s “Big Balls” was playing in my head pretty much constantly. Here’s why:

I've Got The Big Balls!

I’ve Got The Big Balls!

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