Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter in New York

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So the real winter finally came to New York, like a late-arriving guest whom no one expected. You know, the real winter, when the wind acts like Kazanova trying by all means to get underneath your clothes. The time of the year when the longer the jacket, the longer distances you can walk. The only thing that's missing from this real winter is snow, but something's telling me it's yet to come.

Winter days like this remind me of January back in Kazan. The winters over there are not the coldest, but there are days when no matter how many clothes one layers, nothing seems to work. And the snow often doesn't melt for weeks. That was when I learned how to endure cold very well. In the light of current events, it seems natural that I should share a few pieces of advice on how to survive the rough weather:

1. Consume a lot of hot foods and liquids. I drink a lot of tea, day and night, and it keeps me warm. Coffee, hot chocolate and soup are other great ways to resist cold, to name a few.

2. Insulate windows and doors. If they don't close tightly, there's a great chance that some cold wind will get inside and cool down your apartment or house. Some stores sell plastic wrap for windows, which does not provide absolute protection, yet it keeps the chill out, and on a 20 degree day you'll feel the difference.

Of course, if you're the lucky one who opens the windows all winter long, you got nothing to worry about.

If, however, your dwelling happens to be a cold one, a good heater will warm it up pretty quickly, which brings your electricity bill way up beyond your budget. Since gas is cheaper than electricity, it might be a good idea to organize a cookaway. Or merely boil water for tea all you want, and stay warm.

3. Don't go outside without a good reason. Hard to abide, isn't it? There are so many things to do in New York! I personally love going ice-skating. Moving around the half-empty rink, I don't feel the cold at all. But seriously, if your house is warm, there's no better place to survive winter than inside it.

4. If you do go outside, put on a lot of layers. A T-shirt, a turtleneck, and a sweater or two will do. Layering prevents the wind from getting to your skin, and even if all layers are thin, together they are like a powerful army.

5. Wear longer jackets, those that cover up the split between your sweater and your pants/skirt. In general, the less naked body parts are sticking out, the warmer you will feel. Wait! I was referring to ears and hands, and what did you think?

6. Keep your limbs warm. Even if the rest of your body is warm, cold limbs will cause a lot of discomfort, so make sure you have warm winter shoes and cozy gloves. If your floors are cold, wear slippers and socks, as many as needed.

7. And finally, moisturize your skin. It's not so much the cold, but its effects that you have to worry about. Under the influence of cold, for instance, your skin dries out and breaks. I would not recommend you to put cream right before you go outside (you don't want the moisturizer to freeze inside your pores, do you?) I'd suggest to apply cream once you get home, or, for your hands, right before putting gloves on.

And if your hands do fell victim to cold weather, read How to Treat Dry Cracked Hands.

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