Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Munich's deep freeze

Earlier this year, we arrived in Munich to grey skies and rainy weather. There was no snow on the ground and the kids were disappointed. Everyone cheered slightly when the grey skies occasionally cleared and the Alps were visible in the distance.  Then the snow came and we bought sleds. Then Europe’s deep freeze kicked in and we realized it was much too cold for us to actually leave our apartment, with or without the sleds!
In our part of southern Germany, temperatures hovered around -10 Celsius/ 14 Fahrenheit during the day and dipped to -22 Celsius/-7 Fahrenheit at night. And stayed there for about three weeks. Life continued albeit at a slower pace. School buses were late and field trips cancelled due to icy roads. It was too cold for outdoor recess though occasionally the kids went outside for a few minutes just to say they did. The kids started dressing themselves in multiple layers on top of their wool long underwear without encouragement. The train Phil takes into Munich stopped a few times and he waited in unheated cars for it to move again. Our new car stopped in traffic once on the way to swim practice. Apparently the reason for the stop; diesel fuel sometimes freezes when it is below 0 degrees Celsius!
For the last few days, the weather has been warmer. The kids even went skiing this past weekend, wearing only their regular winter gear, not all their Arctic add-ons (like Tori’s cute pink balaclava ski mask that everyone calls her baklava after the pistachio pastry.) Today the kids are celebrating Fasching, the festival before the start of Lent, with a party at school during which they can dress in costumes. We don’t know too much about Fasching except that the party at school will last for all of German and math class. Apparently the festival is also meant to scare away winter spirits. Let’s hope one boy dressed as Aaron Rodgers, one girl dressed as a Native American Indian and one girl dressed as a little girl can do the trick and bring on spring real quick.


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