Friday, October 4, 2013

снег! aka Snow!

Forget everything I said last week. That whole thing about a month of rain was a big, fat lie. Because two days into October, it decided to start snowing. For the record, it doesn't show signs of stopping (and I don't have any corn for popping, either, if you're wondering).

Seriously, where did fall go? What happened to that entire range of temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees? Russians talk a lot about "Indian summers," but having now spent two falls here, I can say that I don't believe such a thing exists in Yekaterinburg. The winter coat is out, the mittens and hat have been donned, and poor Jack is once again being stuffed into tights and snow pants (and even his face mask) by the nanny.

The little produce stands will soon be closed for winter.

Many Russians believe that if you drink a cold beverage in the winter, you'll get sick. So my poor little Russian friend, Anastasia, was aghast when I pulled juice out of the fridge for Jack last night. In fact, most beverages here are served warm or room temperature in the winter. I asked for some milk for my tea the other day and received an entire glass of frothed milk. One waitress, clearly catching on to the fact that I was American, thoughtfully brought me some ice for my lukewarm Sprite. You never get ice in your drinks here - not because the water isn't safe (I mean, it isn't, but even the locals don't drink it so it's not like in Mexico where you've got to be on the lookout for that kind of thing) but because cold drinks just aren't the norm.

Scarily enough, many locals get their water from pumps like these. It's apparently better than the tap water.

The really scary thing is that 30 degrees isn't cold here. I have to remind myself it's still about 50 or 60 degrees WARMER than it will be in a couple of months. I sort of got used to the cold (sort of) last year but it appears I have some reacclimating to do. Today I wore a turtleneck, a North Face fleece, and my Canada Goose jacket and I was still shivering. Not a good sign.

Of course, life must go on, so tomorrow we're heading out for a hike with our friends. I'm sure we'll pass some intrepid mushroom hunters on the trail. Meanwhile, I'll be the one in the giant orange puffer jacket, long underwear, and hat with ear flaps. Reacclimating can wait until next week.

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