Saturday, September 9, 2017

How a California Girl Survives in the Baltics

Being a California girl, I had concerns about how I would survive in a place where the weather is often... well, not like California. Californians are spoiled. If the weather is bad (and by "bad," I mean when it rains or the temperature drops to a chilly 45 degrees Fahrenheit), we stay inside and wait it out. It won't be long before the weather is nice enough to head outside.

That doesn't work in Lithuania. I was warned before I got here that the winters and long, cold, and gray. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I did not see the sun at all from November until April. And what I thought was winter, because it resembled winter in DC, turned out to be fall. Real winter hit in late January.

What I've learned from the Lithuanians is that you cannot wait until the weather is perfect to enjoy being outdoors. When the weather is what I would consider "stay inside with hot chocolate and a book," the Lithuanians are sitting outside coffee houses, strolling at an outdoor festival (why the most important Lithuanian holidays are in prime cold weather months is the subject of another blog post), and parents are pushing strollers through several inches of freshly fallen snow.

Even for an avowed homebody such as myself, there is such as thing as too much home alone time. So I've learned to adapt. Last winter, I bought a long sheepskin coat suitable for the Baltic cold (with apologies to any vegan or anti-animal skin readers, but I haven't found a man-made material that will induce me to walk outside in the middle of a Lithuanian winter). In spring, I threw on rubber boots and a poncho when I wanted to venture outside in the rain.

After what seemed like one week of summer, fall is already in the air in Lithuania. I know it won't be long before I have to bundle up like Nanook of the North when I walk to work in the morning. But this California girl is prepared.