Our Christmas trip to Finland – a long weekend after the Finnish Independence Day of the sixth of December – reminded me about the cultural and climatic differences between my old and new home countries. You can see the differences clearly from the children’s clothing.
In Finland you can see children going around from head to toe in winter gear, mostly full overalls or two-piece padded suites with waterproof trousers and long glove-mittens when the temperature is around 0 degrees and the roads are watery. In many areas snow cover is present for five or even six months so it makes sense to cover your children properly and let them play freely in the snow without them becoming wet.
In Britain Number One Son survives without winter boots and thermal underwear. Where the latter can be bought I do not even know. Therefore, the aim of our first shopping trip after arriving to Finland, in the infamous Sello shopping centre, was to buy him high ankle warm winter trainers and some longjohns. We thought we were to manage with his old winter coat and existing warm trousers but a sudden bout of sickness on our way up the motorway to Tampere resulted with a quick exit at Hämeenlinna to stock us with a new two-piece.
The rainy weather followed us from Britain to Finland and I drove towards north through a sleet downpour. In Tampere the planned shopping trips to the city centre shortened remarkably due to the sleety state of the roads there. It was no pleasure crossing a road with a toddler with huge pools of water by the pavements. Luckily, Stockmann, my favourite department store, together with the Academic Bookstore was only 200 metres away – although it felt like 20 kilometres when pushing the stroller through the sleet.
Number One Son enjoyed the snow though. Even if there had been snow around the Christmas 2010 for the record two weeks, Number One Son’s memory does not stretch that far. Thus he happily tapped the snow cover on the colder days and liked to walk across fress snow surface.