I have arrived safely in Finland. I've been here now for almost two weeks. Man, it is cold! Unfortunately at this statement, my boyfriend mocked me and said I haven't seen cold yet. Yikes! Since the first day I arrived there has been snow on the ground. It hasn't snowed a whole lot, but since it never gets warm enough to melt it away it just accumulates. So it looks like its been snowing for days. Temperatures have been pretty consistently in the 20s *F. As of late, it seems to be steadily dropping.
Normally in the states with this cold and the snow, life would cease to happen. However, Finnish life never slows downs. People just put on more clothes and keep-a-moving. The city I currently live in is very European. By that, I mean people walk. Its the culture. Imagine getting used to walking everywhere (not a big deal) in this constant cold (big deal!) Needless to say, I've got some things to get used to.
Luckily, before I left, I scoured the web for tips on how to dress for Finnish winter. A bought a Northface jacket and snow boots, and pairs of UnderArmour base layers. Albeit, a bit pricy, they have been the things I have used the most since I've been here. When I go out--on days with 32* or below--I wear my base layers under my normal clothes, my arctic jacket, boots, fleece scarf, insulated gloves, and most of the time something to cover my ears. Getting ready to go outside is like a 10 minute process, as well as taking it all off when you get indoors.
The Finnish sure have mastered the art of staying warm. Houses and buildings are very well insulated. I walked into the post office yesterday and started sweating in about 2 minutes with all my winter gear on. My favorite household warm feature is the bathroom floors. All the houses, apartments, etc. that I have been in so far have HEATED tile floors. Its fantastic when taking a shower, or well, anytime really. I know I sure would have appreciated one of those on winter school mornings growing up.
I'll be sure to post more weird and wacky things in the following days. Living in another country truly is an eye opening experience.