It's Raining, It's Pouring...

It seems that during the week I was in America, fall came to the Urals. The lovely summer-ish weather we enjoyed for about three months has come to an end, and winter is knocking at the door. Fall is a short-lived season in Russia, and while it's lovely to see the leaves change and to hike in the forest with the mushroom hunters, it also means rain. Lots and lots of rain.

In fact, fall in Yekaterinburg (all one month of it) is a lot like winter in the Pacific Northwest. Cold and wet. I think everyone here would agree that winter is almost welcome when it comes, because snow beats freezing rain any day of the week. There are no storm drains in Yekat, so all the water pools up in the many, many potholes in the road and the uneven pavement. I learned last year to stand at least ten feet from a corner while waiting for a light, or risk getting splashed by the speeding cars.

And while the locals have no problem breaking out their winter coats on September 1st, it seems that rain boots haven't made it to this part of the world. Maybe it's because the rainy season is so short and it's not worth the cost, but while I trudge through the massive puddles in my water-proof boots, I see men and women alike in inappropriate footwear trying to leap across small rivers or go ten feet out of their way to skirt a newly-formed pond.

With the rain came the cold, and since it's up to the city when our radiators get turned on for the year, it's gotten a bit nippy in our apartment. It's supposed to drop below freezing next week, so hopefully someone turns them on soon. It also means our walks to work could get very icy. I'll never forget one day early last winter (so probably in early November) when the entire sidewalk from our house to work was covered in black ice. It was already dark in the mornings by then, so we couldn't see a thing. John and I slid and slipped like two crazy people, praying we wouldn't fall. We made it in one piece, but two coworkers had bad falls that day. I plan on breaking out my Yak-Traks earlier this year.

One more funny thing about rain here - you know that superstition we have in America about opening umbrellas inside? Russians don't share that same notion. After all, how are you supposed to get your umbrella dry if you can't open it up and set it on the floor, preferably near a radiator? As my nanny said when I chastised her for opening her umbrella in the house one day: "What, we don't have enough problems to worry about?"

Fair enough.


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