Spring/Mourning my Boots

Goodness, it’s been a while since I last posted. I think I’ve been enjoying myself too much. The weather has become amazing. Last week I remember looking at the temperature and seeing 1C and 2C (33F-35F) and thinking, “Ah, how warm it is!.” In comparison to -8C or 17C, above freezing feels AMAZING. If last week was heaven, though, than this week I have surely come to occupy nirvana. For the last two days it’s been sunny and 16C/60F. Today I bought sunglasses and thin cotton socks, and have began to fantasize about spring dresses and skirts. The atmosphere in Ljubljana is amazing. Everybody radiates happiness. The whole city is outside, strolling or sitting outside in the sunshine at the cafes along the river. The ice cream shops are mobbed. I think we’re all celebrating survival and sunshine. Yes, there is hope! Life will go on!

However, I have actively began to worry about shoes. As I wandered around H&M trying to find their selection of cheap sunglasses, I couldn’t help but glance down in the mirror. My beloved brown leather boots look more than little worse for the wear. I’ve worn these boots almost every day since I bought them about two and a half years ago. How cute were they with both skirts and pants, and comfortable! So comfortable, with good bit of chunky heal to add a boost to my meager 5’2.

The winter has not been kind to them. After shoving my feet with thick wool socks into them for the last several months, they are warped and much bigger than they were in September.  Consistent wading through snow and slush had not helped aesthetically, either. More to the point, I simply can’t wander around in them in my bare feet or with thin cotton socks like I used to- my feet are swimming in all the extra space. They need thick wool socks. Booohoooooo. Now I won’t be able to wear my beloved boots again until next winter! Arrrg. Arrg and lots of tears.

Now I have to worry about buying new shoes. I feel like it’s going to be a challenge, because all I really want are carbon copies of my boots…Something extremely comfortable, good with pants and skirts, and European worthy, i.e. not flip flops. I love flip flops. Europeans don’t do flip flops. Arrg again.

Still, if this is the biggest complaint in my life right now, (it’s not- what in the world will I do after Fulbright!? is,) then things are going pretty great. I love my classes. I love the weather. We’re having homemade lasagna tonight. Can’t ask for more than that, eh?

The Weather.

It’s really cold! I’m not making it up this time! The BBC corroborates my story! Two days ago it was, “Cold Weather Kills Dozens in Eastern Europe,” while today it’s “Europe’s Freeze Claims 110 Lives.”

Actually, while it has been colder than normal, it wasn’t THAT much colder than normal two days ago when I first read about a cold front coming through Eastern Europe and the Balkans. “That proves it,” I thought. “Slovenia really isn’t part of Eastern Europe OR the Balkans. I don’t feel particularly cold, no blizzards here. Just like they’ve always been claiming, Slovenia’s gotta qualify as Central.”

Yesterday was fairly of cold, though. Despite reading the newspaper headlines, I was a bit surprised. I left the house to go to school, and it was -4 C, that’s about 25 F, and the high for the day was something like 28. But the wind. The wind was something awful. Brrr.

Today I was prepared for it, though. I wore my long johns beneath my jeans, a turtle neck, my thickest Aunt Betsey Icelandic wool sweater, wool socks, Kat-knitted hat and gloves, all topped by my Columbia Sportswear high-tech long down jacket. All to walk a block to the library.

I had been planning on going for run this morning before I hit the books, but I made the mistake of finishing a great book I’ve been reading, “Annapurna.”  It’s an autobiographical account of the first expedition to summit the Himalayan mountain Annapurna in 1950. At the time of this expedition, Annapurna was the highest mountain in the world to ever be climbed, and to this day it’s the most deadly. I’d really recommend the book. It’s short, and wildly engaging. However, it does make one’s feet feel a little chilled. I just couldn’t face the thought of going on a run in the cold after being transported to a land of blizzards, avalanches, and frostbite all morning. My psychological grit for the day had all been used up.

Now, though, looking ahead at the weather forecast, I wish I had pushed through it. If I didn’t care to run this morning, I don’t think I’ll be too eager for the next few days. The famous cold snap that I’ve been reading about will have worked its way over to my section of the world. Tomorrow’s high: -4C. Tomorrow’s low: -6. Just wait, by Sunday it’s supposed to be a high/low of -8/-15C. -8? How can a high be…-8?!

On the upside, though, it is supposed to finally properly snow at long last this weekend. This is great news, because I’ll get a chance to break out my super snow boots that I both purchased and dragged all the way across the ocean exclusively for my first real “winter.” Also, I’ll hopefully take lots of snowy photos of Ljubljana and have an excuse to drink hot cocoa. Another up is that at least I’m not in Lithuania, studying their transition to democracy. The high in their capital this morning was -30C.

So, when’s spring again?

Weather: Forcasts

Today I would like to spend a few moments commenting on the weather forecasts. You see, they lie. Regularly and routinely, they lie.

Today I was walking around mid-day, and the temperature? 32 degrees. What did my Google widget predict the high would be? 44. That would a whopping 12 degrees of variation. Huh? What’s extra fascinating is that its been consistently wrong. This whole last week we’ve maxed out at 35 during the day, but Google has stubbornly insisted that we would reach the mid-40’s. It will also predict the lows, and be routinely above what the temperature says on my widget.

It’s not just Google. Nobody can agree on the right forecast. See the variation for yourself:

This one is always the warmest. I suspect Google uses it for their own numbers:

http://www.weather-forecast.com/locations/Ljubljana/forecasts/latest

See how it compares with:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/3215733

and

http://www.accuweather.com/en-us/si/ljubljana/ljubljana/forecast15.aspx

Moreover. I’m also fairly sure the forecasters have predicted sunshine for the last week as well. It may have been sunny, but only above the fog which never lifted.

By the way, the colder weather is growing on me. I like the sharpness.

Oh, so this is what people call, “weather.”

Me with the National Poet of Slovenia, Preseren

Sweaters and turtlenecks are a brilliant and necessary combination. My mother was right, as always. Thanks, Mum!

Its definitely transitioned into fall here, with highs similar to, maybe a little less than, Portland’s in the day time, and with lows about ten degrees colder. (Hello, 30’s. I haven’t seen you in a long while.) This means that in the morning, it is COLD when I get up. Having lived in Southern California for the last several years, I think I’ve forgotten what sub-40 degree weather feels like. I am enjoying the nice and brisk air, but it’s still a bit of a shock to my system. Also, because I am no longer on my parent’s heating bill, indoors are a bit chillier than I’m used to, too. My pajamas have evolved to consist of a long sleeves thermal shirt, leggings, and wool socks.

Thankfully, I came with a barrage of lovely wool sweaters and knitted items to get me through the winter. (Yay, Kat!) I love wool. A giant shout-out to my mother for handing me down a massive pile of lovely Icelandic wool sweaters knit by my Aunt Betsey, which are coming in serious use. The brown one that I’m wearing in these photos taken by my roommate is one such example, I’m sure eventually you’ll see them all on this blog.

The Slovenians seem to be taking the change in weather in stride. Outdoor seating at cafes and restaurants are still in high usage; people are simply more bundled up. Also, many cafes provide nicely folded and coordinating blankets with their outdoor seating, making lingering over a bella kava (a yummy sort of extra-milky latte,) outside in cold weather a real possibility. One of my roommates even encountered a heated stone bench at an outdoor cafe, and between that and a blanket, she says she wasn’t cold in the slightest.

I am a little anxious about the impending winter, though. If this is fall, and I’m cold now, what will it be like when the winter arrives? Hmmm.