Friday, February 23, 2007

You know it's time to wear your thermals when...

On Wednesday, the temperature in Kyiv dropped. Quite significantly, in fact - it was around minus 15 in the morning, and warmed up to around minus seven.

And the sun was out. As a result, I seriously underestimated just how cold it was outside.

Setting out for lunch, I donned a pair of trusty knee socks under my lined boots. No tights, no thermals. Just a cotton summer skirt, boots and socks (oh, and a shirt and jumper of course).

Not having far to go to meet my friends, I didn't really notice the cold. But after lunch, a friend asked me to walk with her to find a sports hall she'd been told about.

So we set out on foot, up from the valley that is Kreshchatyk to the hill-top of the river bank. The wind was blowing mighty fiercely at the top of the hill and it was bloody freezing.

Admittedly, we were both rather cold, but as we were on foot, we just sped up a little to keep warm.
We walked around for about an hour, then returned to Kreshchatyk. That's where I saw something I've never seen before.

A Ukrainian man smiled at me. Almost laughed. I was dumbfounded, this was such a monumental event. Ukrainians never smile and make eye contact on the street. What was going on? Have the tides turned?

Then he looked at my knees. I followed his gaze and looked down.

My knees were fluorescent pink. They were brighter than the worst sunburn I have ever had if my life. In contrast to my black boots and black skirt, this painful streak of freezing pink flesh was shocking.

I was so embarrassed. I undid my zip just a little so I could pull my skirt lower to hide the pink. I felt as though people were looking at me, thinking, "What a stupid foreign lady. She doesn't even know how to keep warm."

I scurried home, and pulled out the thermals straight away, so I wouldn't forget to put them on when I went out on Thursday. Then I spent the rest of the evening defrosting.

So while it's not as interesting or inventive as some of the competition entries, I discovered: you know it's time to wear your thermals when your legs are so pink, they force a Kyivite to smile at you.

8 comments:

Karmyn said...

yes - that is cold....or maybe they are smiling because you've finally managed to fit in.

Vicki said...

This is a great story and someday your children's children will apperciate that you wrote it down.

Beccy said...

Prehaps they were admiring the tops of your trusted knee high socks!

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear karmyn. To be honest, that didn't occur to me! Hmm. You may be right. I have been asked for directions a couple of times in the past week, in Russian....


Dear vicki. Heheh I hope they will! So when they travel from Australia to a cold country, they won't be stupid enough to leave the thermals at home. Or to think sun = hot weather.


Dear beccy. They may have been. I did have my stripey socks on that day, and they are rather stunning.

ChrisB said...

Maybe he was wishing he could warm you up!!

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear chrisb. That didn't occur to me either. If it had, I might have scuttled home a bit quicker in fright!

enid said...

brrr, little miss moi, that's cold. enid's almost glad she has the flu and the man has to go and walk the dogs on his own.

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear enid. I couldn't imagine owning a dog. There are some days that you just don't want to walk out the door. I'm glad the man is well trained in walking the dogs.