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Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Californian meets Helsinki's November

We've had what I've heard is a very warm fall here--and I'm not complaining in the slightest!--but when I was gone the weather definitely became autumn: highs in the 40s and low 50s, nights in the 30s & 40s, and most of the leaves off the trees, even here in downtown.  Most of the time I channel my inner Irish and Juraissienne and manage to dress appropriately.  Then there are days like today.

I hadn't really done a thorough grocery shop since well before I left for Texas, so I decided it was time to trek into Stockmann (one-stop shopping and all that).  The day is a classic November day, at least so I've been told: cloudy and 43 degrees with a 10 mph breeze coming straight off the gulf of Finland.  My response was (and still is) that, as long as there's no ice, it's a great day in the neighborhood, so I put on my coat and headed into town.

See if you notice the difference between my wardrobe and the Finnish one:

  • Hat worn by most people under 5 and over 30 (which, sadly, now includes me!)
  • scarf
  • sweater/sweatshirt
  • jeans or thick trousers
  • socks or tights of some sort
  • cool leather boots or booties (I have massive boot envy and plan to raid the after Christmas sales)
  • black wool coat (just past hip length)
  • gloves or mittens (most people)

  • no hat
  • wool scarf (let's hear it for my old Irish clothes)
  • cotton sweatshirt (no shirt under it)
  • baggy linen trousers
  • no socks
  • little, suede flats (but they've got no slip soles!)
  • black wool coat (just past hip length)--whew, I got something right; those black coats that hit just below your rear seem to be a uniform for Finnish women, although I lust after the Max Mara tan ones.                
  • no gloves or mittens

Yes, I was an idiot.  Within 2 minutes I noticed what the breeze could do to linen trousers and was very grateful that I've learned ways to cut through malls so that I really only had to walk for a block or two outside on my way to/from the tram stops, Stockmann, and the Towers.

What makes this so funny is that I have all the stuff, save for the myriad of cute, little, leather ankle boots I've seen here.  I brought 3 warm hats over plus tons of my old scarves and mittens from Irish days plus some yummy leather gloves with cashmere linings!  (When your idea of an 80s fashion statement was to be sure that your scarves, mittens, and shirts matched, you collected A LOT of scarves and mittens!)  I have a ridiculous number of socks, too, and am constantly on my case for overpacking.

In any case, I made it back, giggling all the way.  In a few hours I will brave the grey again to take Ted for a walk, and I've promised myself that this time I'll bundle up appropriately, especially if that breeze keeps blowing.

Of course, I celebrated my weather-clothes revelation in classic Californian fashion, that is, showing total disregard for the weather: I bought myself ice cream! :-)  Blueberry with blueberry sauce--yum.

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