I’m a t-shirt and (cargo) shorts kind of girl. Just one layer, quick and easy, (and less washing). It’s a very ‘Australian’ thing to dress so lite – it’s like we are always on a backpacking holiday – we don’t even wear socks!
Lately it’s been snowing in Tromsø and it has dropped to freezing temperatures. However, I still find myself in t-s and shorts! (Not outside, of course.) Rather than putting on a jumper or two, I crank up the heaters in the house. This makes everyone’s cheeks nice and rosy but also makes the fan in the computer go berserk. I understand the layer-concept – the more layers the warmer you get but at every opportunity I’d prefer to strip down to one layer and use artificial heating instead. Moose keeps on complaining that it’s so hot all the time. But that is because he likes wearing jumpers in the Winter and you’d think that me coming from a hot country that I’d be wearing the doona! However, my backward ways had to have a reason and I think I’ve got it – old habits die hard. For the last 30 years I’ve been used to being toasty in just t-s and shorts. I’ve never been toasty wearing jumpers and jeans. The whole fact that you’d need to wear a jumper and jeans in Australia is because it is cold. So for it to be warm enough for me, it needs to be so warm enough to wear just t-s and shorts. Get my drift? More simply: being warm = needing to wear t-s and shorts. (Boy, I didn’t think Australians were that complicated until I came to Norway!)
The other habit that I have become accustomed to over the last 30 years is ‘movement’. When you wear so many layers for warmth it restricts your movement greatly. Imagine trying to cook dinner wearing a fat-suit? I like having my arms free and light and being able to cross my legs and sit on the floor. Wearing thick stockings, socks and jeans, undershirt, shirt, fashion scarf and a jumper/cardigan (as is the common ‘indoor’ wear in Norway) doesn’t ooze ‘freedom’. This stuff is fine to wear outside but when I get inside I find myself taking everything off – Norwegians don’t.
If I don’t take the clothes off I start sweating. I think Australians have a lower ‘sweat threshold’ than Norwegians. As soon as I get a little hot my instinct is to take layers off before I turn into a prune. A Norwegian can wear thermal underwear in a sauna and not even break a sweat. This makes the whole ‘clothes on or off’ thing very complex, doesn’t it?!
One thing that is crazy-hard to get used to is wearing a snow jacket, snow boots, scarf, beanie, mittens, and gloves every time you go outside. It takes at least another 5-10mins to get ready. You go outside – you put everything on, you go inside – you take everything off, you go outside – you put everything on, you go inside – you take everything off… it’s a killer when you are just popping round to a friends place for an hour or so in the Winter.
One thing is certain, Norwegians don’t like heating in the bedroom. Apparently it isn’t healthy to sleep in a warm room. So you’d think I’d wear layers and layers to bed, but nope. I’d prefer layers of blankets instead. I still have the Aussie habit of sleeping free (no, not in a nuddy, but almost ;D). Although, I haven’t quite worked out if the ‘no heating in bedrooms’ thing is true or just a ploy. For all I know it could be Moose’s way of making me snuggle up to him at night.
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