Harvard Happenings and Notes on Being Cold

Another public health moment, brought to you by the city of Boston.  This time from the toilet of a fantastic bar that I've just discovered near my house in Cambridge.  And yes, for those of you who were wondering - I've started taking my camera EVERYWHERE.  

But I digress, Boston is seriously lacking in night life.  I'm not sure what it is about the town, but you seem to have the choice of a Irish Sports Bar, complete with obnoxious sports fans watching the TV (turned up too loud), or "bars" that insist that you sit at a table and then don't serve you.  But this bar is great.  Although they make you sit down, they do endeavour to serve you.  It's dark like a bar should be, there's grime on the floor, the toilet is, well, less than pristine (and yet somehow perfect), they serve a weird combination of American pub food, Sushi and Indian and the first time I walked in there they were playing a Tom Waits movie.  Eclectic and unpretentious and yet totally cool.  Just as all bars should be.

Changing the topic.  I'm cold.  As predicted post-Columbus day weekend, winter has arrived.  Tomorrow they are predicting "wet sleet".  I don't understand what this means.  Anyone?  Surely all that comes from the sky are wet.  I have a bad feeling it alludes to the arrival of snow, or something much worse, which is "rain but not quite rain, and not quite snow either".  It's about 13 degrees (max) and drops to -3 at night.  I have decided that I am officially unprepared to deal with this climate.  It can only get colder.  My only other experience with this degree of coldness has been visiting the snow, when there is a very real possibility that at the end of the day you will descend the mountain and go back to a tolerable winter.  The thought of being cold for the next five months is alarming.  My hands are cold, my feet are cold and when I step outside my cheeks get cold.  The cold is unbelievably dry, so much so that my hair is officially straight, I am going through insane amount of moisturiser cream for my hands and despite arriving with 4 tubes of lip gloss I think I will need to buy more by the end of the month.  I am seeking all help for how to keep my little toes warm in my shoes and my little nose warm, without looking like an Eskimo.  I beginning to feel that winter warmth and "sexy, sophisticated Australian-girl don't mix".  All help appreciated!


jane_8888 said...

How fantastic that you've found a good nightspot finally! and somewhere to get sushi too!!
i don't have any suggestions to deal with the cold sorry :(

Amanda Dines said...

Dear Lady B,
I am Amanda Dines, a colleague of Dev Kevat from the MPH class of '05. Thank you for your blog which is allowing me to relive the many wonders of my year at HSPH. Amongst very many other things, it provide an intimate acquaintance with the challenges of the New England cold.
My experience is that the ONLY way to cope with the cold is to dress for it. I suggest you start at ground level. DSW has fleece lined boots made in Canada, where it gets REALY cold. I got mine for $40. As a bonus they also have a grippy sole which is good for walking on ice - the next peril you will have to face.
For the legs, jeans with panytyhose underneath are OK for now but you will have to get some thicker trousers. I found GAP had good stuff -and it goes on sale really early. I had thermal longjohns but to be honest I didn't wear them except when skiing in Maine - seriously cold!
For the torso, it is layers: longsleeved T, short sleeved T, sweaters, fleece vest, jacket [thick Boston wool or windsstopper type fleece] and, the terrible truth, for Jan/Feb there is NO escaping the puffy jacket that covers the butt and hips AND all of the above. By then EVERYONE looks like an eskimo, so go with it.You even have to have furry stuff on the hood to catch the snow.
Then it is gloves - cute leather and wool outers but with fleece liners for real warmth; scarfs - wool/fleece; earmuffs - yes; hats - with two layers!

Of course, as soon as you go inside you have to peel all the outer gear off or you risk heat exhaustion. By my estimate, this creates an extra 20-30 min of 'work' a day...and gives rise to that most dreaded of winter things - HAT HAIR. To a certain extent, everyone has that too, but one very stylish fellow student gave me a good tip - bend over, pull your fringe up into a top knot, secure with an elastic as much as possible before donning hat; when removing hat, release the elastic and let the fringe fall forward. Worth a try ;-))

Sad to say, given the demise of the AUD, you really have to buy the outer clothes in Boston. Australian winter clothes are just cosmetic - they give the appearance of warmth without actually providing it.
Once you are all kitted out, I hope you can embrace the cold. One of my best nights out was going to a play just off Harvard Sq, crunching through the new snow just as a storm was ending. Beautiful.

Good luck with getting warm and enjoying every glorious aspect your year has to offer. Thank you again for your lovely blog.


PS. Sorry my comment is so long. I do go on. A

duppa said...

Thanks Lady B for your great blog. We have enjoyed reading it today. It is a bit cold in Melbourne but will get warmer. Your Nana is enjoying your blog too.Her advice is to keep on putting on more layers!!!

katie@weheartbooks.com said...

Wow, I love Amanda's comment - do you write a blog Amanda? I think you should!
I remember wearing fleece-lined boots in Germany and - ugly as they were - being very grateful for them. What about heating up a wheat-pack before you leave the house?

Clare said...

Hi Bear,
Great comment from A, I think she knows what she's talking about. I don't have any truly reliable suggetions, it hasn't got that cold yet in London, and I'm scared. You will have to tell me your solutions when I come for Thanks Giving (Hurrah!!) I can only agree that layering and sacrificing 'sophisticated' for 'practical' are the answers. What about the good old wool spencer? (my darling Mum has already sent me one in the post). Fleece-lined wool anything seems to be good.
See you in a few weeks,
Clare xx

Clare B said...

Thanks for the tips Amanda - very useful. I took heed of some of your tips today - two long-sleave tops, vest, coat, hat, gloves, scarf, jeans, sports socks and boots. Going to need more as it gets colder though. The fleece liners in the gloves are a great tip, I was wondering about whether you needed to double glove or not. A Danish girl told me about insulating footsoles for your shoes today as well - apparently allows you to wear nice shoes without the big clumpy cold-proof, slip-proof treads for a bit longer.