January and February are BY FAR the toughest months for me. Why? Because they are the coldest, darkest months and the closest thing to look forward to (Easter) feels too far… Yet here I am. Well planted in Norway with snow up to my knees (it’s not as bad as it sounds, I’m 155cm). I figured my only choice -if I want to make the best of my journey- is to counter-attack my morose voice with some reminders on how to enjoy what remains of winter:
So it’s dark… But:
- We gain minutes of light every day, and soon we will have normal, lengthy days.
- It’s exotic! We leave in one of the few places where this happens and we get to see it. Even though it happens every year, not one winter is like the other.
- There’s snow! Which gives everything an extra glow. And even if I think twice before I go out, the atmosphere is sure worth it.
So the snow makes things slower… But:
- The more snow, the more I feel it “makes sense”, especially for skiers (which I’m not, but I’m happy for them!)
- There is a general focus on wearing the right clothes rather that the latest in fashion. No one cares if you can’t wear high heels. Personally I’m ok with looking like a lumberjack as long as I’m warm.
- There is so much snow that it’s not slippery, nor will it be until it rains and with these temperatures, no chance.
So it’s cold… But:
- It’s dry, which makes it easier to stay warm. When it’s humid, the cold will get through all your layers and hug you with a mocking sneer.
- You can wear wool that does not itch. What supermarkets lack in choice, the specialized stores will compensate with a great variety of materials and prints.
- Your hot drink will taste better, curled up on the sofa, preferably in front of the fireplace. Staying at home becomes a comforting alternative when you see the snow falling from the sky.
So it’s boring to be inside so much…But:
- You can catch up on old movies, organizing your files or like me: do some cleaning (Tips if you clean the filter on top of your stove: 1-Use vinegar 2-Close your mouth).
- You can start a hobby or your own company… lots of time to think and reflect on stuff you would be too busy to tend to otherwise. Nights are long and if cosy enough, can also be very inspiring.
- Take the opportunity to invite friends over. That’s what I do because it keeps me busy, I get to see people I like and don’t have to go through the trouble of moving my entire tribe through the city.
So food is expensive… But:
- When you earn your salary in Norwegian Kroner you will find that the “basics” are pretty affordable. When you buy lots of imported foods, you bill will bloat like a pair of lis on botox. True, the basics aren’t very many. I look for recipes on YouTube, it’s the only way to find new combinations as I am not so creative with food.
- There are independent stores that have more variety and cheaper products (check out Sultanen).
- You can always ask your guests to bring something. After all, food is just an excuse to get together and have a good time.
Norway may not be my home country, but:
- I don’t even know what that is anymore. I do not know what it would be like to live there today.
- The difference in mentality, especially at work, is something I do no wish to give up (e.g. flexibility, flat hierarchy, attitude towards pregnant women and employees with small children…)
- I still miss the weather, the food, the music, the smells, the fruits and sense of humor from my country. Most of all, I think I miss the feeling of understanding without having to work at it. But as long as I keep comparing, Norway will never win. Because it will never be El Salvador. It’s all about the here and now and appreciating that. I try to get better at it. The long winter nights certainly help me practice! 😀