This is my second winter in Sweden and I am dreading it already. November hasn’t been too kind and the sun hasn’t been spied. While in between studying, writing, working, I have a fleeting thought. Don’t we learn so much while living in a cold country if I could call Sweden one of these? I have learned so much in these two years and I am sure both internationals and local students can co relate to this post.
This happens to you when winter draws near and you learn the following things. Follow me with some funny GIFs :-
- Plan everything according to the weather.
Your day begins and ends by checking the weather app on the phone. You play for a lunch if it is sunny outside else you sit indoors. You plan for outings if it is a sunny day else go for a movie. Wear a dress if it is sunny or wrap yourself in woolens if it is chilly. Weather is a game changer!
- Never leave home without an umbrella or jacket even when it is sunny outside.
It can rain or get cold anytime. So even if the temperature goes in double digits, it is better to carry an umbrella with you as it can threaten to rain. Even if it is sunny outside, it might get windy so it is advisable to carry your jacket with you all the time.
- Drinking coffee at any place, any time is common.
It is hardly any secret that Sweden is one of the most coffee drinking countries in the world. So naturally the consumption during winters gets even more. So winters mean hoard up more coffee. Coffee cups in between meals, lectures, meetings, presentations etc are very common.
- Go to gym when it turns dark, mornings and days are for being out.
Since it gets pretty dark almost around 3 pm nowadays, it is natural to ‘invest’ some quality time in oneself. Running outside makes no sense so the gym is an ideal place anytime after 16.00. Time between 8.00-15.00 is usually to spend outdoors hoping to spy some sun and get fresh air. Evenings are for gym and early dinner then cozying up in front of TV or curl up with a book.
- Always armed with lot of scarves, woolen caps, warm socks, gloves and positive spirit!
There is a saying in Sweden, ‘There is no bad weather, only bad clothes’. So be dressed properly and you are ready for any weather. Winters are a time to experiment with lots of colorful scarves, caps, gloves. Each and every item is precious to own. And you definitely need some positive spirit to combat the dark weather. To pep up the positive spirit you need music in your years and spring in your step.
- Run to warmer places in the winter vacations.
You get accustomed to run off to warmer places for at least a month for vacations. Sometimes the sun plays hide and seek and it gets dark pretty early. So running to an island or someplace in Asia is never a bad idea. For me the best thing is to go to my country, India and come back rejuvenated.
- Search for fleece and fireplaces wherever you go for coffee or dinner.
Winters are all about cozying up. Sweden has some pretty good restaurants for eating out. It is not uncommon to get accustomed to seeing fleece and outdoor heaters in restaurants in winters. Wonderful accompaniment to keep you warm and all cozy.
- Keep counting the days (or even months) of how near the spring/summer is.
In November you say that December is near and just 3 months to go. In January you say, just two months more. For every winter month you just can’t stop thinking about what all you would do when summer is here. Hit the pool; join cooking classes or just sun-bathe!
- Buy some summer dresses in anticipation for an early summer.
When there is a good deal on dresses or summer clothes, you buy them all. Firstly hoping that summer isn’t that far off, secondly summer clothes would be pretty expensive when summer comes. So it is better to build a better wardrobe by the time the real summer comes in.
- Involve yourself in indoor activities to beat the weather blues.
Winter time means playing badminton, table tennis, board games, movies, theatres and lots of visit to friends and families nearby. To take your mind off the boring weather, staying indoors is the best bet.
- Bathing everyday needs extra motivation, which you learn!
As it becomes more and more foggy, snowy, rainy and dark, your motivation to bath everyday becomes a major challenge, admit it or not. At home you are in your sweaters, socks and warm clothes and it gets difficult to remove all your warm clothes and get into the shower. So bathing every day- a huge motivation!
- Sleep is your most desired thing especially in the mornings.
You share a romantic relationship with your bed as winter draws near. Early morning lectures and rushing to work gets tougher and tougher as it gets dark, rainy and sleepier.
- If you just see a tiny glimpse of sun or temperature above 9 degrees, you wear dresses!
Winter days usually mean dressed in full outfits covered with layers of huddled clothes. So once you see the bright sun or temperature above 10 degrees you are tempted to get into your dresses, shorts and t shirts. Anything that gets you out of your heavy jackets is a saving grace.
- See the brighter side of the country when the weather turns ugly.
Whenever we are sad with the weather, we tend to see the other bright sides of Sweden. Like so many vacations, the quiet atmosphere, work life balance, and the wonderful summer. In retrospect nothing seems bad in comparison and we trudge on.
- Skiing/ ice skating is a must in winters.
Lastly your winters aren’t complete if you don’t learn how to ice skate or ski in Sweden. Even a kid knows them by the back of his hand. I haven’t had tried anyone of the two till now, but I intend to.
Finally, winters in Sweden can be long and endearing especially if you are not used to the weather before. But trust me you learn with time and all the activities around you. So with lots of coffee, warm clothes, schedule, friendly meet ups, books and gym visits, you would soon get over the winter fever and welcome the spring!
Photo credits : Featured image : http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1313357918/139/5445139_600x400.jpg