Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brrr, it's Cold in Here!

Sometime over the last week, winter set in. Frankly, it took us a bit by surprise, and I think we're still somewhat in denial. The 65-degree, blazingly sunny days are just not representative of the winters we are used to (sub-zero temps and snow in Chicago? Shudder). These warm, sunny days are also, however, incongruent with the Kathmandu nights, which are long, cold, and dark when we have no central heat and only intermittent electricity.

We are fortunate, though, to have a couple decent remedies: for the cold, a gas space heater, and for the power outages, a back-up battery system that allows us to run low-watt bulbs, our laptops, and our wireless internet router. You know, the important things -- fridge be damned.

Oh, and don't forget the hot water bottles. Why didn't someone tell me about these years ago?! They are amazing!

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But our main defenses against the cold are layers. Lots of them. The system looks something like this: base layer (I have synthetic and merino wool sets, and I have been known to wear them both in moments of desperation); wool sweater; lightweight down jacket; wool socks; fleece-lined hat. Altogether, these things make me feel pretty warm on cold nights in our apartment. Except for my hands. Oh, my hands! I get cold hands in the summer, so you can only imagine what they are like in the winter. Gloves are okay for just sitting around, but they get in the way of typing, cooking, etc. A hot mug is the best solution, but that is even more inconvenient than gloves.

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Readers out there, do you have any suggestions?

Although it will get a bit worse before it gets better, I really should not complain. After all, our winter is short, lasting just a couple months from December to February. And the 60+ degree sunny days are heavenly. Really, this time in Nepal has made me appreciate a temperate climate, and I think I have probably gone soft when it comes to winter!

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