With one week left in Tomsk the weather has decided to give us a lovely farewell by being consistently below minus 20 and snowing practically every day. I can say with certainty that I am not cut out for this weather, even after taking my host’s advice to “dress like a cabbage”, and I am looking forward to the tropical climate in England.
My first real experience of a Tomsk winter was when I decided to go to a football match in minus 16. Outside. To this day I am not quite sure why I decided to do this as I know nothing about football, I have never been interested in it and it required me standing in the cold for approximately 3 hours. For the second half, my friends and I decided to join the Tomsk super fans section of the stadium so that we could jump around and chant in an attempt to get warm. It did not provide the desired result but I did enjoy joining in with all the chanting and realised that English football chants are just a bit rubbish in comparison. What I could not get my head around was when about half of the “super fans” decided to take their tops off. IT WAS MINUS 16!! These people are like a super breed sometimes. Unbelievable.
I am becoming quite an admirable ice slider. Every day I manage to fit in at least 10 slides on my walks to and from university and to the shops and now I like to think my recovery time has increased by a good second. I often manage not to let out a squeal as well. That is quite an improvement! At the beginning of the winter, when the snow had just settled and the roads had just got icey, my friend didn’t have quite the same luck when she tried to get on a bus and promptly slipped right under it instead. You may wonder how this is possible but trust me, it is very easily done. All it takes is one slip off the kerb and you’re a gonner.Thank you to the kind man who managed to pull her out! Later that day when getting on another bus I barely managed to get my sentence of “Try not to full under the bus this time!” out before she disappeared from sight and was lying on her back under the bus again! This memory still warms me up whenever I’m feeling a bit chilly.
The great thing about it being so cold is the amount of food you can eat before it starts to become unacceptable. When ordering a pizza and chips you can justify it by saying that you need the fat to keep you warm. The same goes for buying chocolate and the copious amounts of blinis that I consume here. However, there are limits to how far this excuse can be stretched. For instance, sitting down to dinner and seeing a plate of mysterious white chunks on the table (Сало – a traditional Ukranian dish of salted, solid lumps of pork fat) and being told they are useful for winter is definitely one of those times when this reasoning has been taken way too far.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my dislike of packets of milk. In principle, they are great inventions as there is less packaging to dispose of once the milk has been used up. I do commend Russia for this as they don’t recycle anything in Tomsk so they may as well save on plastic cartons! However, when pouring milk into my cup of tea it is highly likely that the pressure of the milk will force the self-cut opening wide apart and the packet will empty itself out all over my kitchen floor. I can now say that I am an expert in this field and an expert in the art of clearing up milk. Packets of milk – я не буду скучать!