The cold. How cold? I couldn't tell you. When I check the weather reports or walk by the pharmacy with the handy little temperature display I see numbers like 2 or -4. Alright sure, I think to myself - that's pretty much what it feels like. Oddly enough, my coworkers, who spent all of October and November whining about how cold it was, have stopped mentioning the chill.
I haven't got a car and I haven't got the patience to wait for buses. So I walk. Here is my dressing routine before I go out:
- 2 pairs of knee high socks (put on before the jeans because there is just no way
those jeans will be pushed or rolled any higher than my lower calf)
- a long sleeve shirt
- a scarf wrapped twice
- elbow length fingerless gloves
- a zip-up hoodie - zipped so my scarf is inside and doesn't have the possibility to
be windblown ever, and my elbow-length gloves are snug at my elbow. PS Im pretty
sure Im the only girl who wears zip up hoodies. So American.
- jaunty red hat. More than once I have been called little red riding hood (petite
chapeau rouge) by strangers.
- mittens that go over my finger-less gloves but under the sleeve of my hoodie.
- My trench coat - buttoned uncomfortably all the way up to my chin.
I tell myself I am ready - loaded down with Earth bags to go to the grocery store or books to go to the library. As soon as I walk out my nose is immediately assaulted. That's my indication that it is really really cold. Back in November when the French would tell me how cold it was and ask how I could stand to wear t-shirts I was always confused. But I can still feel me nose! How can it be cold if I can still feel my nose? No doubts now.
My toes are next to go and within minutes they are useless lumps in my shoes. Evil heart, I think to myself, if you were just a tiny bit stronger or just a tiny bit more courageous, perhaps you could see fit to pump a bit of blood down there and properly circulate my extremities rather than sacrifice them within the first 5 minutes.
And unfortunately the cold cannot always be escaped. Upon returning to my little bedroom from my trip to the States, I found my bed cold and unwelcoming. The radiator sat in the corner, ignoring me. No heat to give me tonight, little radiator? Nor the next day unfortunately. It wasn't until mid-day Monday that the sweet sound of hot running water creaking through the pipes could be heard. I slept with my hat and gloves on for two nights. I have never truly had bed-head until now.
In comparison to my bedroom - the classrooms are saunas. Saunas that bake the children until they are sweaty, smelly little balls of excitement.
The only redeeming quality that the cold has to offer me is that it has been snowing on a very regular basis. Huge, ogre-sized globs of snow. Yesterday it snowed in the morning. During my classes as my children sat quietly writing (wait quietly? yes!) I gazed out the window at the lovely snow. Lovely until my gaze fell upon the playground pavement. My lovely quiet little children had celebrated the falling snow by drawing giant genitals and writing the words RAT MAN all over the freshly blanketed ground. Nothing seems to delight little boys (well perhaps boys in general) more than drawing wieners. I would have delighted you with a picture but by the time my classes were finished the snow had either melted away or some scandalized adult had destroyed all traces.
If you have made it this far in the post - thanks for reading. I didn't have a picture to post and frankly I feel I have been letting my pictures do most of the narrating, and while they probably do that just fine, I enjoy writing as well. In other news, Pang and I will be starting a new tandem photo project so look for that next week, I also promise to post a video of clips I have taken while in France. Not the piece I am most excited about but still something I have been working on for a little bit.