The Swedish winter is cold but there is no such thing as bad weather. Or is there?
There is a proverb that annoys me!
The brisk and spirited proverb by John Ruskin; “There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of weather”, has in Sweden been transformed to: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”, (in Swedish the proverb rhymes). This is a proverb that I have heard since I was a child, and the opinions which we grow up with become in some way the truth. But the last few weeks this proverb has begun to annoy me! I think that there is indeed such a thing as bad weather, at least in Sweden during wintertime!
How are you supposed to be dressed when temperature has dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius, in strong wind, and still be able to move! I haven’t found that ultimate dress yet! Or is it that we now days pay more attention to our appearance than to be dressed properly for cold weather!
Where I live in Scandinavia we have four seasons, and the other three; spring, summer and autumn all have their advantages. But what about winter! I can’t see anything positive about this season. The weather is either rainy, with grey or cloudy weather or cold with strong wind and with the cold come snow and slipperiness. Everything becomes more difficult. To get the car started in those cold morning takes a bit of work, first you have to dig out the car which is covered with snow and shoveling the path in order to be able to leave the property at all. Secondly you must start the car and let it be a bit warm inside before getting in to it. What a dreadful way to start the morning!
Some days I drive to work without knowing if I will survive; the snow is pouring down and the roads are covered with ice. And as if that was not enough, during some periods it can be even colder with temperatures down to minus 25 to minus 30 degrees Celsius. I live on the Swedish west coast and because of the closeness to the ocean the air is humid, even when it’s cold, leaving a damp and cold weather.
The location of Sweden!
To re-learn how to dress for cold weather!
Personally I prefer the rainy weather. To dress in order to get protection against rain is quite easy. You simply use warm clothes and an umbrella or a raincoat.
But the cold! The cold air eats its way trough your clothes no matter what!
Maybe we have lost some knowledge during the years? As I remember my childhood it was always a lot of snow during winter time. We used kick-sleds to the local grocery store and the roads were always snowy. But I can’t remember being so terrible cold! We where always outside, went skating, snowball fights etc.
During most of my adult years, the weather during winter has mostly been rainy with just a few cold days. So maybe I have lost the skill in how to dress properly for cold weather.
When I choose clothes in the morning, my first thought isn’t; how should I dress without freezing to death? Instead I am use to choose the clothes that I want to wear during that day, clothes that fits my mood of mind and clothes that are comfortable. And since I am used to dress that way the result is that I’m horrendous cold that whole day. The jeans feel almost frozen on to the legs and the face ache from the frost and the cold winds. I have abandoned the car for now and instead go by bus. When I walk to the bus in the morning I feel almost anger over the fact that the weather can get so cold! I regularly meet a very friendly woman from the Philippines at the bus stop in the morning. During this cold season I can´t understand why someone from the Philippines should choose to live here, but she lives in Sweden because of the common cause; love. Every morning she says; Ugh so cold, and all this snow. I wonder what she really think about this place on earth in the winter, for her winter must seem even more terrible than for me.
Usually, I love being outside and I regularly take long walks, but now it is completely impossible. Now the main goal is to get inside as quickly as possible! But as the cold weather continues, week after week, my way of thinking have gradually changed there in my closet in the mornings. Now I am primarily thinking on how to get dressed so that I don’t freeze! Isn’t that fantastic? You might think that it should be common knowledge, and it is! But somehow I have been used to not have to think that way! Of course I have more warm clothes during winter than in the summer but that isn’t enough now. Now it is layers upon layers that apply! It takes some time to put all clothes on and when walking down the street, I look like a fat shapeless figure, with two layers of pants, tree layers of sweaters and a coat that covers most of the body, warm boats, a scarf, gloves and hat. And on top, I pull the hood over my head! So, now I don’t freeze, but how do I look? But then again, we all look the same in the morning darkness; shapeless figures that walk quickly with the head bent against the wind. Some say that the Swedes are stiff and boring and that we don’t show our feelings as much! Is it any wonder with such a climate?
Later at work, the task to strip off all the extra layers remains.
A funny thing that has happened over the last few years due to the cold weather is that some articles of clothing that was used a lot in the past have now become popular even among teenagers. For example, knitted socks are really hot fashion right now. And if you want longer socks there are also knitted socks in “over knee” size, embellished with yarn balls! It is good when reality and fashion goes together! On the whole, knitted clothes has got a higher status in Sweden the last years, sweaters and jackets, big scarves etc.
In the northern parts of Sweden, and in all areas on Earth that have long and cold winters, the people are accustomed to very cold winters with much snow. And because it’s the same every year they probably get used to it. But I could never get used to such cold. I think it is intolerable in the long run. The snow covered landscape can be very beautiful, when you look at it from indoors. Once outside it is a different feeeling! I am already longing for spring, with sunshine and warmth. I can’t help but wondering, why hasn’t all of us who live in areas with winter cold, adapted to our reality?
It is even worse in the northern part of Sweden!
Now you know why we need warm drinks!
- Try some recipes for Swedish glogg, mulled wine with spices and tasty snacks .
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