I'm dreaming of a -40 F/C Christmas

 So it is that fun time of year when it gets colder than the center of hell (according to Dante's Inferno).  Currently on Sunday, December 2 at 11:45am it is -2 F (-19 C).  Fun Fact - - at -40 Celsius and Fahrenheit merge.  It is beautiful!

When I talk with people who don't live in Mongolia they always ask me if I am prepared for winter.  It is like asking people on the Titanic if they were ready to go swimming.  The answer is - not really!  Coming from Nebraska, I am no stranger to cold but this level and length of cold is something that was new to me last year.

Nebraska winters can be bi-polar.  One day will be 40 F and the next will be 0 F.  Or, like last year, it could be 70 F the entire time.  Mongolia, thanks to Ceiling Cat, is more stable in her winter attack.  It begins to get cold in October and steps you down slowly and carefully to -40 C/F.  This gives you time to acclimate and get your winter things ready.

According to Mongolians, winter hasn't officially started yet.  There are 81 days of winter and the date when winter starts changes each year due to their lunar calendar.  So right now it is still 'fall' but I beg to differ.

If you want to survive the Mongolian winter just ELOPE!

1.  EAT! EAT! EAT!
Your body will burn a lot of calories just trying to stay warm.  So . . you must give it a lot of fuel.  I usually throw down a lot of Clif bars each day and drink milk tea that I lace with butter for extra fat.

The best way to stay warm is to layer properly.  I start with a base layer of thermals (I have transitioned to my thickest ones) and then put a long sleeved shirt on top of that followed by a cashmere sweater.  I also wear a thick pair of Smart Wool socks.  They are a life saver!

3.  Outerwear!  Outerwear! Outerwear!
You have to wear a good coat, warm hat, great gloves and a couple of scarves.  In the city, I wear a wool pea coat with a jacket beneath.  This will suffice in UB and keep me warm.  If I venture outside the city or will be outside for a prolonged period of time I switch to a beautiful North Face Down coat.  This keeps me toasty!  I usually wear two scarves.  One to keep in my body heat and another to cover my mouth. (When your mouth gets cold you lose the ability to enunciate and sound really special for a little bit!).
Gloves are really important!  My hands are ALWAYS cold so I put them in my coat pockets to add another layer to trap heat.  This helps a lot.  If you listened to the advice of your kindergarten teacher, you should know to always wear a hat.  This keeps your ears from freezing off.

4. Prance! Prance! Prance!
This just means to keep moving.  I will sometimes walk 5 km from a university to the city centre in -40 weather just to keep moving.  I get really hot that way and don't have to stand at a bus stop for 15-20 minutes outside in the frigid air.

5.  Entertain! Entertain! Entertain!
Going outside at night can be a real drag.  That is when it is the coldest and it is harder to see ice and you can fall. (I sound like I am 92 years old!).  So I find plenty of things to do to keep myself entertained.  Currently I have three books in progress on my kindle and I play a lot of card games.  When feeling less book wormy, I watch a lot of t.v. and movies that are on my external hard drive.  This year I am lucky to have a keyboard so I can practice some Bach and Widor to my heart's content!

So if you just ELOPE you can survive the Mongolian winter.

Fun facts about the cold of Mongolia:
You can feel your nose hairs freeze when you breathe in through your nose.
Sometimes your tear ducts freeze if you don't blink often enough.
Due to the pollution your snot turns black! (Hooray!)
Apparently your the cord on your headphones can snap due to freezing.
Your phones get jacked up if you don't keep them next to your body and warm.
No need for a freezer in your house . . .just put your food on the porch.

A normal late October outfit.  Light later of long underwear, normal socks, wool coat , scarf, gloves and a hat.

A normal December outfit.  Thick long underwear, heavy socks, a jacket, wool peacoat, two scarves, gloves and a hat.

My "crap it's cold" outfit.  Heavy thermals, heavy socks, down coat, scarves, gloves and a hat.
A good sampling of my winter gear.  1 layer of light long underwear, 2 sets of thick long underwear, 4 pairs of gloves, 7 pairs of socks, many scarves and hats.

Many of my sweaters.  I have a problem.  This is about 60% of the sweaters I have here.  The rest were in storage at the time.

My long underwear brings all the boys to the yard.  Maybe . . .
I call this "Portrait of warmth."
A sunset view of UB as seen from my balcony.  It does provide a nice view!

Well I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I hope you are well and warm wherever you are!


  1. Im especially glad you can fill the cold will the warmth of Bach. Are there plans to share that with others?

  2. LOVE the scarf fashion photos, particularly your Portrait of Warmth. Lovely. :-)

  3. When are you going to update?!?!