Lance & Megan's Blog

Surviving a Ukrainian Winter


Many of you have been concerned and wondering if I was snowed in at my apartment, curled up under 10 blankets, slowing turning into an ice cube. I can safely tell you that is not the case. I actually had no idea that it was such a big deal, I thought this was normal weather and that I just needed to deal with it.

Let me tell you how I deal with it. Every morning as I am preparing to leave, I put on my fleece jacket, then my down jacket, then a long wooly scarf, my ear warmers, gloves, and snow boots. Besides all that, since November I have been wearing long johns, two pairs of socks and an undershirt every day. I open the door and walk the 20 min it takes me to get to the base. That’s how I deal with it.

I can usually tell about how cold it is by how fast of have little snot icicles in my nose. I had no idea what was happening when this first happened. I just thought ‘why is my nose all stiff?’ If I get snot icicles the instant I walk out the door… it’s cold. If not, it’s only kinda cold. That’s all you need to know.

I generally make a point to plow through the deep snow so I get a work out walking to the base, then I’m nice and toasty. That is also another way to gauge the weather. If I get to the base and I’m not hot, it’s really cold. I get some funny looks not walking on the beaten path, but it’s just more fun to make my own trail. (Really though, do I ever follow the beaten path?)

One of our students is from Siberia and absolutely loves this weather. She told me the trick to make the shivers go away. “Just embrace the coldness Megan, and the shivering will go away.” That’s what she told me, so helpful my students are.

Nothing has really effected us too much. A pipe broke at the base so we had to close down the kitchen our last two weeks of school. The kitchen has now been moved into the laundry room and the laundry room has been moved upstairs. Marichka and I’s neighbor upstairs had a pipe break which manifested itself in a waterfall down our kitchen wall. All pipes have been fixed to some extent or another. The only annoying thing is that our heater goes off randomly at the apartment due to air pressure changes, this just means we wake up cold and have to restart the heater. Nothing we can’t handle.

Most things go on as normal here. The buses still run, there are still taxis, businesses are open. There is about a quarter inch of ice on the inside of most bus windows so you really need to pay attention to the stops. Schools close not because of the amount of snow, but because it gets so cold. They close at -4F only because the schools don’t have heating systems that are good enough to heat the buildings. So kids here have missed quite a lot of school.

Yes, it has been cold here. I think the coldest was -24F, that was with low humidity though so I think it has been colder with humidity and wind chill. But really, I have not minded it. It has been fun to have so much snow. I enjoy walking to and from the base every day. I can’t complain.

posted under cultural, travel, Ukraine
One Comment to

“Surviving a Ukrainian Winter”

  1. On February 20th, 2012 at 10:44 am Papa G Says:

    Hug the freezing cold Megan!