When we were kids all I can remember about winter was snow everywhere for three months from beginning of December till the end of February. when it will melt and make room for the spring flowers to come out.
And yes – it was cold, and yes – we had to wear tonnes of clothes in multiple layers, and the most dreaded from me – yes – there was always a scarf over my mouth and nose suffocating me and leaving small fibers in my mouth. However, all my early memories of winter are sooo good I would not change them for the world. Sometimes there would be so much snow piled outside our building, that when you step at the entrance you see multiple tunnels going in different directions, forming some sort of a snowy labyrinth. It felt like being Alice in Wonderland, winter edition.
I also loved playing outside. There was a vast meadow in front of our building with a very slight slope, where all the kids from the neighbourhood will gather and slide downhill on skis, sledges, or simply a piece of nylon. My sister and I had a wonderful yellow sledge that our father painted for us (you can imagine in communist Bulgaria there was not hell of a big variety of products, so our parents would always add a personal touch wherever possible to our things). We would build snowmen and fight with snowballs, and if we were to find a spot with no traces in the snow we’d make snow angels. An interesting game we played was competing who could stand longer on the frozen snow before it collapsed under his/her feet.
And after spending what seemed like a whole day in the snow (in reality it was probably only a couple of hours), we would go home all wet and frozen, change our clothes and lie on the floor with our feet up on the radiators to bring back whatever sensation was left in them. This was like the most painful part, but so rewarding, it’s untrue.
Now it’s a bit different. In the past nearly 10-12 years I have grown out of being so fond of winter. My body physically refuses to function properly when it’s cold, I hate wearing layers of clothes on and it snows so rarely that this Winter Wonderland I remember happens 2-3 times for the whole season, and the rest of the time it’s just bare, dry trees and the whole world is painted in dark brown and grey. Not to mention that last few years we’ve almost gone into holiday season wearing t-shirts and sun glasses (no it’s not like spring or summer, because the nature is missing its bright colours). Some years it has been so bad that spring flowers were getting confused when to start peaking over the ground and we would have snowdrops growing in January, while the storks would be lining at the border pondering on whether to come in and start nesting.
However, last year it felt a bit different. I decided that there cannot be 3-4 months per year that I’ll spend longing for the seemingly short spring and summer, and will try to enjoy winter as much as I can. So we decided to try and learn to ski. I’ve always wanted to try it and we’ve had one terrible experience where my then boyfriend (now husband) tried to teach me, but he couldn’t ski either so it was a complete disaster. Last year, however, we found the right guy to teach us – a proper instructor, and I’m so thankful. I think we managed to go on a total of 4-5 lessons (then the snow was gone), but it was incredible and made me look forward to winder this year. Well, I will not be joining the swooshing downhill, but I am planning to find something else to make this season enjoyable enough, so that I won’t regret these next few months.
Of course the occasional snow will definitely make this experience better and we already had some, which only lasted for 3 days but gives hope that there’ll be more. The squeaking of the snow beneath my feet, the sparkle of the white scenery and the smell of fresh snow… I honestly hope there’ll be more of it, but in the meantime I’m in search for another inspiration to make me love winter again.
So if you have any suggestions please share in the comments below. I will also love to learn your tricks for surviving your least favourite times of the year J