Welp, I officially feel like we moved to Siberia. Sure, our address is in Ukraine, but I’m still pretty sure we’re actually in Siberia. …Or maybe it just seems so for the girl who comes from a town that gets maybe 2 snow days a year. Where I come from, school is canceled if there is even a chance of a snowflake hovering. If the ground is white, forget about it. Life is canceled and snowmen are attempted out of the inch of snow that barely reaches the tips of the grass.
Not so in Ukraine. Life goes on and it is quite the adventure! It snowed quite a bit here last week, and now it’s been snowing for about 3 days straight. It’s beautiful! I’ve never had to live in snow before so I have a lot to learn. Add not having a car to the mix and you learn pretty darn fast. 🙂
After one of the children (who shall remain nameless) laid down in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of town to make a snow angel we realized that we probably needed to teach the kids about “snow play time” and “snow errand time” The two snow times are not created equal. When we are on “snow errand time” we don’t make snow angels in the middle of the sidewalk and we don’t throw snowballs at each other as we walk down the street. There are at least two reasons for this: we don’t want to get chewed out by babushkas for getting cold and wet, and we don’t want to enter stores and shops cold and wet. Oy.
“Do you see anyone else making a snow angel in the middle of town???? Get up right now!!!!”
When it’s below freezing it’s imperative to pay close attention while on the bus. The windows of the buses are covered in ice and the inside of the bus isn’t cold enough to thaw them, so it’s pretty much impossible to see out the windows at all. Riding the bus at this point is like crowding in to a icy cave full of fur-clad strangers. You must remain on close lookout for neon light landmarks along the route that help you see when you should get out. Another method would be to count how many stops it is from one place to another, but I haven’t mastered that yet.
I’ve learned to properly bundle my children and it feels like a strange form of child abuse. I basically render the little ones incapable of independent movement by the amount of clothing they’re wearing, but it can’t be helped! I’m becoming a Ukrainian. There’s no such thing as too much bundle.
First undies, then thick Ukrainian tights, then regular pants, then wool socks, then long-sleeve shirt, then short-sleeve shirt, then snowsuit, then Ukrainian wool vest, then coat (with attached shell), then mittens, then scarf, then hat. It may seem like overkill, but when you’re in waaaaaay below freezing weather, and you have to wait for the bus you don’t really care about the mobility of your arms, you mostly care that your arms don’t freeze off. Bundling in Ukraine is like an art form. Everywhere you go you see mom’s breathless as they stuff and pull and wrap and tug. Who needs a gym membership when you have 4 kidlets to bundle?
Though it FREEEEEEEEEZING outside, our house is warm and cozy. We have plenty of yummy food (and warm coffee) to fill our tummies, and we are happy. Though things are in upheaval in this place we love, our hearts are full of peace. We’re finding joy in experiencing a snowy Ukraine for the first time. Snowy Ukraine is beautiful 🙂