It’s definitely colder these days, unusually for February. “Colder” meaning don’t want to go out cold. In December and January people kept saying that it was warmer than usual; now, when it should be getting a little warmer, it’s colder. “Colder” meaning highs in the -20’s C/-10F in the middle of the day, and bits of things freeze on your face. My eyes water, which then causes my eyelashes to form little icicles, and the condensation on my scarf freezes and sticks to wet patches on my face.
We’ve made our home as comfortable as possible to get through the winter, and we have a well-stocked library, pantry, bar and Apple TV. (Just discovered “True Detective” last night — wow.) We make our own bread and yogurt, plus we’re growing herbs from seeds that my mother-in-law very thoughtfully gave us last summer. It’s like “Little House on the Steppe” here with all the DIY projects.
The problem is that staying at home, even for people as physically lazy as we can be, gets old after awhile. I just bundled up to go for a walk around town, and it felt good to move around and get some air. But there’s not much to do. The city set up a little skating rink in the main square, which I tried and won’t do again without some decent skates. And there’s a small ski area about an hour outside the city. Some people go hiking and horse riding, too. Maybe I’m too soft, too lazy or not desperate enough, but being outside for more than, oh, 45 minutes seems really unpleasant.
I guess what I’m saying is that we’ve created such a cosy little interior life that we don’t have much incentive to go out. And so we don’t, much, except for work and running errands. Mongolia has an amazing outdoor life and landscapes, but we’re not hardcore enough to enjoy that during the winter, and the urban life is fine, but fairly limited (I’ll write about some of the arts and performances another time). So, we’re hibernating comfortably and it works, except when I get restless and a bit stir-crazy. You Polar-Vortex sufferers probably know the feeling.