I would best describe it as a love-hate relationship. There are days when I wake up and feel so thankful that destiny (KI to be more precise) brought me to Sweden and cannot wait to head out and fill my eyes with the prettiness the season has to offer. And then, there are days when I’m cold and tired having walked so much that I just want to get home and cry my eyes out. Well, it’s my first winter after all. When I say first winter, I don’t mean first Swedish winter; it is the first winter I have ever seen in my life!
I hail from south India where winter is a season we read about in text books. There is no concept of looking at the weather forecast since we don’t have to dress accordingly. I can wear the same stuff throughout the year. We complain and don’t get out of our home if we feel cold. We think 17 °C is cold and this happens in December for about two days (actually, two mornings. It gets warm in the afternoon); and then everything is back to normal (read 28 °C).
What happens when I get my warm self to Stockholm?
My acclimatization to Swedish winter happened in several stages
This generally happens in August- when most of us get to Stockholm and it’s so warm and sunny with all the lovely café outside. Stockholm had one of the kindest summers this year and I was very sure all the winter talks was mere exaggeration! Ah people have nothing to talk about so they talk about winter.
If only I knew my long sunny days in Stockholm were numbered…
We planned quiet a lot of outdoor activities during my first few weeks here. Looking at the Swedes enjoy the Sun as if it’s the most precious thing in the world, I slowly started to get scared. “What if all the winter nightmares are true?” Where I come from, we either curse the sun for blaring or we don’t give a damn about it.
In October, the temperature started to drop. It was gradual at the beginning and I bought jackets that were quite warm. Yes! I bought it all after coming here. My idea of warm clothing in India meant wearing a full sleeved T-shirt. There were also days when I regretted wearing those as the day progressed.
I was so proud of myself for handling the Stockholm winter so well. Most of my friends later told me that it was still autumn. Okay, maybe I was a bit overdressed but who cares. One must do what must be done to keep oneself warm.
And finally, when I was on a cruise to Tallinn, someone announced that it is going to snow in a few days.
IT’S NOVEMBER! Snow is a Christmas thing!
I knew I was not prepared for this. I knew something had to be done. I had to buy shoes, warmer clothes, gloves, food. And I conveniently assumed I can postpone all of that because of sheer laziness. It was also the week just before exams so we had study holidays and I found a very good reason not to get out of my cozy abode. Looking through the window, I began to love the snow. It brightened the dark days and was such a beautiful sight.
I finally ran out of supplies and I needed a caffeine fix. Being completely unprepared, I rushed out of Pax wearing sneakers. Those of you who are living in, or have previously lived at Pax are obviously aware of the slippery track through the back door. Being my foolish inexperienced self, I had no idea what it meant. I slipped “a bit”. (I am so relieved that nobody saw me or I would have to mention the reality and would also be a meme by now!) That’s when the existence of the railings by the side of the walkway dawned upon me. Holding on to my lifeline, I contemplated what measures to take next. My sneakers got wet, my feet were numb and “BUY NEW SHOES” was written all over the aura of enlightenment I saw.
Thanks to the advises from my friends and my new warm shoes, I am all set to tread the path of winter. It has been tried and tested so well, that all we must do is sway along. It might not be my favorite season as of now but I know I won’t be dead by the end of it. I survived the recent snow apocalypse that happened in Stockholm after all!
If I am breezing through the winter, I can assure you that it’s not so brutal (YET)! I must say that none of the pictures make complete justice to the specter we get to see. So just buy the right clothing, shoes, and, some Vitamin-D and get to KI next year to experience it yourself. It is so beautiful that you are bound to fall in love!