Growing up, I always wondered what winter was like. I had watched a lot of movies where people would do lots of winter activities but I had never actually seen snow. I grew up in Kenya and all I knew was rainy and sunny seasons, and high temperatures throughout so I never understood how people really survived in less than zero degrees Celsius. When I decided to move Sweden, I was a bit nervous because I knew it was one of the coldest places. I bought a lot of sweaters, jackets, gloves and whatever I thought would protect me from the cold. I later came to find out that what we referred to in Kenya as cold season attire would not help me through the Scandinavian winter.
I had this idea that winter meant snow all through and I came to realise it was so different from what I always imagined. The trees started shedding their leaves and temperatures started going down. The temperatures were so low that sometimes my eyes would tear and my ears would hurt. The strangest part was that the sun would rise late in the day and set as early as 3 pm. At this point, I began to understand the importance of the sun I had tried to avoid all my life. Whenever it got hot back home, I would always go under the shade or indoors, but now I would find myself moving towards the sun. All this time, the snow I had been waiting for was nowhere to be seen!!! I even developed a habit of checking my window every morning to see if it was snowing.
One morning I was woken up by a friend to see a huge snow fall. Finally, WINTER WAS HERE!!!! I was so excited I woke up at 5 am to go play in the snow and try to build my first snowman who turned out to look like a snow dog.
The experience was great and I tried to do as many snow-related things as I could. I travelled to Piteu in northern Sweden which is one of the coldest in Sweden and tried skiing!! This was scary at first, I fell a lot of times but it got easier with every try.
I also got to see and walk on frozen lakes!!! I did not believe that it was safe to walk on the frozen lakes until I saw other people doing it and even riding snowmobiles on them.
The best part was when there was both snow and sun as it kind of got warmer and brighter.
Apart from the cold and less sun, I surprisingly found winter great. It sadly came and passed but now I always look forward to it.
Here are some more photos from my first winter…