Pictured above: Shevchenko Park in Kyiv
I love the snow. Literally everything about it. Okay, maybe not the slush. Thankfully, this week we finally got some snow in Kyiv. I spent my school days gazing dreamily out the window - yes, even sometimes while I had class. There's nothing more mesmerizing that watching fat snowflakes falling from several floors up. Sometimes they swirl with the updrafts and currents and it's fun to see where the wind comes and goes. One day this week we even had sparkly snow! I've only seen this phenomenon a few times, and before I thought that it had to do with sun and snow happening together. I've changed my hypothesis on this, as I saw the snow sparkle when it was falling in the evening once it was already dark. The flakes were tiny and any time you looked closely they were perfect, six-armed crystals. I now think that they sparkle because the snow was happening during colder than normal temperatures. It was about -10°C on this day and usually you don't see snow when it's this cold. Maybe I'll ask someone with a degree in Meteorology (joke because I have one and don't know the answers to this stuff).
Pictured above: Some of my favorite snow scenes from around Kyiv. Left to right: 1) Overlooking the Dnipro River, 2) a sunny day at St. Sophia's Cathedral, 3) a night walk through Shevchenko Park.
Likely one of the reasons why I love the snow so much is because my relationship with snow and ice has been mostly positive. I have a feeling that this would be a different story if I had to drive my car to work every day. Luckily, Kyiv has an amazing metro (subway) system with trains that come every 2 minutes during peak times. I cannot imagine what traffic in this cobble-stoned city center would be like without the metro. Also, I really can't imagine driving in the snow and ice and really would not want to. The metro will probably be a Kyiv entry all of its own.
Some of my favorite experiences in the snow have been:
I have not fully met my bucket list of snow activities while living in Kyiv. I always wanted to try skiing again (bunny hill only) and I always wanted to try sledding. I'd love to walk across the Dnipro River, but I might be too nervous to do that. Maybe one day if we have a few moments to spare at school after a snowfall I'll borrow a sled and try it out somewhere.
Pictured above: Rime (frozen fog) on plants on a below-freezing day
Living the first 30+ years of my life in places where "cold" was 10°C (about 50°F) I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when we first committed to Ukraine and all the horrible stories about winter. Yes, it can definitely get cold here, but surprising not as cold as what I've read about living some places in the mid-west USA. The coldest temperature I've experienced in my 5 years (as per my trusty indoor-outdoor thermometer) was -20°C, which really felt no colder to me than -10°C. A strange thing is that once it's damn cold outside it doesn't feel any more cold once it gets colder. That said, I've also learned to calculate whether or not it's -15°C based on whether or not the mucus in my nose freezes. Sounds strange, right? Feels strange, too. But it's like a little built-in thermometer. On the rare occasion when it's that cold I usually wrap a scarf around my mouth and nose to keep the lower half of my face warm. This fogs up my glasses so I take them off, but it also coats my eyelashes with moisture and then that moisture freezes! I saw the strangest photo on Instagram from a girl in Russia who had done this until a thick layer of ice crystals formed on her eyelashes. It looked freaky-cool and now I'm waiting for the temperature to drop again to try it. I've even heard stories from teachers about getting to school to find their hair has froze due to not drying it completely before leaving their house. All the things you'd never think about.
Finally, we can't have a post about the "snow globe" without a picture. So here it is. Whether we end up in a new location that has seasons (unlikely) or not, I hope that one day I will once again live somewhere that snows.