- What? You actually like the winter in Finland?
- Oh you’re from California? Why would anyone move from California to Finland? It’s so warm there.
- Oh you like living in Finland? Just wait until winter.
- One winter in Finland and you’ll be back in California.
- It’s snowing already in October? You know you can move back to California anytime.
These are examples of things I hear from friends, family and strangers!
Most people say that I am crazy for enjoying Finnish winters. I have heard it. I appreciate your opinions about winter. And I full- heartedly disagree.
There is something so calming about the sound of snow crunching under my feet, as you walk in the dark.
So comforting coming home and peeling off all the bulky, crunching layers to enjoy salmon soup steaming in your face. And please don’t forget the reissumies with butter and Edam cheese.
And such a childlike joy to slide down a hill of pure white snow. To build snowmen (or snow trains!) like you were 4 years old.
I have rotated our clothes, a task that I did not have to do living in California. Putting away the t-shirts sandals and shorts, pulling out the beanies, boots and thermal underwear.
Now entering my second winter in Finland I feel much more prepared. Last year, I read this blog post, how to dress a child for Finnish winter, probably 20 times until I memorized it. (Thank you Melanie from New Zealand!)
- Base layer = wool
- Second layer = this layer gets thicker and warmer as the temperature drops
- Outer layer = wind and snow resistant
And when wet snow is thrown into the forecast add:
4. Outer, outer layer = waterproof rain gear
Here is why this year should be easier. Ha! I hope….
1. My girls are older.
My older daughter can put on her own shoes and hat now! My younger daughter is still a squirmy protesting toddler, but at least she understands me now and can bring me her pipo/beanie and lapaset/mittens!
2. I’ve experienced it first hand:
I know the difference between 0, -5 and -10. (Or -25! Like we had last year).
I know that that snow at 0 degrees C / 32 degrees F soaks through water resistant clothes and wool mittens, is heavy to remove from the top of my car, and makes perfect snowballs and snowmen (or as we built, snow trains!)
At -10C/14F, we need hot chocolate to warm up from the inside out after sledding down the mäki/hill next to Kinnarin kentää 10 times.
At -15C/5F we add another blanket to the stroller.
At -25C/-13F we will most likely stay inside and monitor our pipes so they don’t freeze. Trips to the library, or to Prisma are a welcome outing after being inside the same four walls for most of the day!
3. I know that looking out the window is deceiving.
That the weather forecast on my phone is a rough guide. That thermometers outside of several windows must be consulted to determine the actual weather. This is to account for the temperature in the sun vs the shade. Even then, going outside is the only real way to know if we are dressed correctly.
Wind adds 5 degrees of chill, the sun plays hide and seek a lot, and adds at least 5 degrees of warmth.
4. Wool socks and galoshes are a fabulous combination!
Warm and dry, and doesn’t break the bank.
5. I have learned to step on snow NOT ice.
A very basic skill, but SO important.
6. Small rocks are wonderful friends to keep around.
Toss them on slippery stairs, please!