Nowadays, I can enjoy two seasons in Finland: the time when we have a great summer and also the time when we have a great winter.
I spent almost my whole adult life in Bratislava, the Slovak capital. It is a windy city. I was often shaking because of the chill and the breeze coming from the Danube river. During hot summers with hot concrete, was impossible to open windows and to ventilate indoor air even at night time. In Bratislava, I loved the most spring season. All parks in blossom, as well as my most favourite spring flowers. An incredible great feeling of liberty, when you can finally put your hat and thick jacket into the closet and when you can sense something completely different in the air. Something new and promising.
During my life back in Slovakia, I have never really liked winter. Besides ice-skating which I like since my childhood, I really couldn’t enjoy any other winter sports and windy and cold weather just got my nerves. When I was living in the suburb called Dlhe diely, placed literally at the top of the hill, winter was even more challenging. After the snowfall, we were regularly in the news. Public transport was cancelled and no cars could climb the slippery slope. We were kind of cut off from the rest of the world. In the other words, winter was not good either with snow, neither without it. On the other side, summer with splashing fountains, ice creams and late dinner on the open terrace of my favourite bar or restaurant were exactly my things.
4 years ago, I tried to prepare for my first winter in Finland. I bought the thickest parka and huge warm winter boots. It was a good decision. The first snow came on the 1st of November and during January temperature were mostly around -20℃. During 10 minutes of walk to my daughter’s kindergarten, I had a feeling, that my skin would just drop off from my face. I couldn’t be outside more than a few minutes and I was asking myself, how I am going to handle this 🙂
During the following 2 winters, I didn’t need any of my super warm winter outfits. There was no reason for it. The temperature was rarely lower than -5℃ and in Uusimaa, there was almost no snow. But, I have started to do cross-country skiing whenever was possible. And I incredibly like it! I would say, that even if Finns present ice-hockey as their national sport, in my opinion, they are born with the skis on their legs 🙂 And we adjusted. Gradually, we all started with this sport, and although it is sometimes more of a pain than pleasure with children, I am happy whenever we can go skiing. I also like, how kids are supported to ski even in kindergartens or schools. I see it as a very good promotion of physical exercise. One doesn’t even need to do it properly. Which is actually my case. But the good feeling from breathing the freezing air, having chilling cheeks and in two days a proper muscle pain is just worth it!
We had a great winter also this year. In January there was snow falling most of the time and the temperature was low, regularly around -15℃. During the day, the sun can shine so brightly that you have to look away.
The snow creaks under your feet. If you go outside, your own breath in the nose will begin to freeze. It’s windless and everything outside seems kind of festive to me. I love this kind of winter! This was what I had expected when we moved to Finland. Unfortunately, most of our Finnish winters were only dark, muddy, windy and rainy.
In 2019 I experienced also changes in my mood at the end of November. It was caused by darkness and terrible weather. I couldn’t enjoy anything, I couldn’t be passionate and to go outside only for a moment was a great problem for me. Seasonal depression was here. It got better with the first snow when the world around became brighter.
And this is the story of how I became in love with winter. The real one. When the cold is coming through your skin, when you put outside matrasses to let the frost kill the germs, and when you are happy to do ice-skating, skiing, sledging, experimenting with the snow or brushing your body with the snowball after the sauna.
This kind of winter is great to experience.