Zero Celsius

I hate being cold. Even in the States. I knew Georgia would have cold winters even before I came here.  But still. This is ridiculous.

My host father showed me the weather forecast for the rest of the week. I am not well versed in Celsius measurements, but I do grasp the concept of the 0 I saw. The whole week was in single digits.

It started with a simple rain. Simple being a two-day rain. The first night wasn’t bad in that it was cold, but bad in that it was hard and I had to walk all the way to school in it. I have a great rain jacket, as I don’t like to carry umbrellas. They are simply inconvenient. But the problem with my rain jacket for all its durability and dependability, it is only a jacket, not a raincoat. I am also proud of my boots. They work against the rain and the elements like a champ! But even with those two, the rain still gobbled me up. By the time I got to school, my jeans were soaked through and through. I thought I was going to be embarrassed when I got to school, because the Georgians would have had a method against getting soaked when walking in the rain. But they were soaked, too.  To add insult to injury, I didn’t go home until night time. So I was wet and cold all day. But that wasn’t even the worst….

The next day, it didn’t rain hard, although I leveled up and wore my rubber calf high boots. It ended up I didn’t need them because I got a ride to school and by the time I got out of school it was only drizzling. They are soo uncomfortable, btw. I don’t think I am doing it right.  I am confused. Maybe I am supposed to wear them over my shoes.  But then I would need to get super big ones. The support is so poor, surely the manufacturers don’t expect people to walk in them as normal boots. Surely.  Anyway.. that’s not the point of this post.

Although it wasn’t raining hard, the temperature dropped drastically. Let me try to help you understand not only the cold, but also the conditions I have to navigate whilst battling said cold.

Let’s take the next day, after the rains. I woke up and everything I touched was cold. There is no heat in my room or any of the other upstairs bedrooms. None. No gas radiator, no nothing. My clothes were cold, my phone was cold. my pillow where I didn’t lay was cold. the blankets, floor and slippers were cold. So my first action is to leave my room, which also means… wait for it….. walking straight outside into the cold. I have to go outside to go downstairs to go back into the kitchen. They usually only fire up the fireplace (for lack of the real term for the thing. In Georgian it’s ‘pechi’) in the afternoon until they go to bed. But this morning, a sign that they too were cold was the fireplace and therefore downstairs was warm. Usually, I would still be shivering as I try to sip my tea WITH the windows and door open.

Fast forward to that night. The fireplace and its surrounding boundaries are the ONLY warm place in this house. The bathroom is virtually outside, which means showers are basically taken outside. So when its time to go to bed, I REALLY intend on going to bed. There is no other purpose to be upstairs in the cold. there is no fiddling around with looking for clothes to wear the next day.  there is no sitting on your bed thinking or cleaning. NO! The only thing I can think about is, ‘What I chose to wear to bed is NOT going to cut it. I might die in my sleep. What else can I layer with to not die? I don’t want to die of cold in my sleep. Will two hats keep my head warm?’ As I am doing all this, I see my breath. One should not see their berate before getting into bed. That is straight up psychological torture. The second part of the torture is knowing that the heat isn’t just simply not working. THERE IS NO HEAT SOURCE.

Then I turn off the light and lay down on a very cold bed. And shut my eyes.

Some nights, there is nothing I can do to warm my feet. I layer socks. I cradle my toes. Nothing helps. But most nights, I must admit, the bedding and wool blanket they gave me works super well. After a while, I do get comfortably warm only if I do not move. If I shift my head to another pillow or direction, the pillows are ice cold. Anywhere my body is not, is frigid. So I ball up and use the cocoon method.

Usually I have to go to the bathroom.. downstairs…. virtually outside. I think LONG and hard before I go. Do I REALLY need to pee?

This morning it was so cold in my room, I couldn’t finish putting on my clothes. I had to bring them downstairs, warm my fingers for a couple of minutes, then resume.

At school, we all teach in our coats and hats even though there is a heat radiator. The students usually sit in their coats and hats. Most kids during break will go outside to stand in the sun for warmth. if there is sun that day.

Such is my life now. It will be winter until April.

***

“I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice”

Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Bing Crosby

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2 responses to “Zero Celsius

  1. This brings back memories!! I think the worst it got in our village was -8, we slept in our clothes so we didn’t have to get undressed in the morning (and we needed the layers – pretty much all the clothes we bought). We slept with our heads under the blankets otherwise our noses would freeze. I remember my breath turned into icicles on my scarf as I lay in bed. It was the only thing that almost broke me in Georgia. Try jumping around and warming your body up before you get into bed and don’t drink much if anything after lunch so you don’t have to go out during the night! We began to love the snow… It snowed between 0 and -2 so it was a little warmer haha. Oh Georgia. Enjoy x

  2. Hahahaha! Thank you for this. It brings back memories for me, too! Thank God for the Coke bottle filled with hot water to tuck into bed at night with me! ….I think some folks with outhouses (or close to, such as your situation) keep a chamber pot in their rooms. I would not have hesitated to have one if I were placed in such an arrangement. (One of my colleagues had to flick ice off the toilet seat before using the one at her place.)

Holla atcha boy!

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