Ah, March. Pretty much everyone I know here has told me that March is the best month of Finland’s winter. It’s relatively warm, actually sunny, and the days are getting longer and longer, so you can enjoy it all. This means excellent skiing conditions, and I have had the great pleasure to watch some professionals at play.
Why does your nose run so much in the cold?
In the cold, your nose works like a radiator. To keep your nose warm, your body increases blood flow to your nose and the blood vessels expand so that as much warm blood as possible pumps through your nose. 92% of blood is water and because of all that extra blood flowing under the skin-surface of your nose, the water starts to drip out of your nose. The minute you go inside your nose warms up, the blood vessels contract and your nose will stop dripping. This mechanism is astoundingly reliable. In the cold, your nose works like a leaky radiator.
Visiting Kim in Finland
A particular favorite phrase of Finns (at least the ones I listen to on the radio and watch on the TV) is ‘se on totta’ [say on toe-tah], which literally means ‘it’s true’. There was a similar phrase in Hausa (‘gaskiya’, gas-key-ah), that was also used to express a sort of camaraderie of thought – like a verbal version of a fist-pound to your heart/chest to express that you believe the person/thought to be (in the) right. I find myself thinking this phrase a lot lately – not sure if it’s a sign of a more relaxed and resigned attitude, but there it is. Example: this forest is stunning. Se on totta!
So 2013 has been a bit of a whirlwind so far – right after the new year, Brandon and I headed down to Helsinki to spend a few days ‘on vacation’ before he left to head back to the States. We tootled around the city, saw some sites, went to a history museum, but mostly just spent a lot of time together, which was great. Since then it’s been a snow sporting bonanza!
Happy New Year 2013! We had a pretty excellent New Year’s celebration, which consisted of: (1) My first cross-country skiing experience; (2) another fabulous round of reindeer chili, complete with champagne; and (3) a midnight visit downtown to partake in the Rovaniemi city fireworks show and the communal festivities.