After 3 years in Glasgow, 1,5 years in Denmark and almost 4 in Germany, or what is the same 8,5 years of living away from Spain in various northern-European countries I came to the realisation that almost nothing will surprise me anymore about living in colder climates. I’ve been desensitized by the years. And even though I have really enjoyed living in the north so far, there are always a a couple things, small details if you please, about living in the northern regions (in comparison to Spain) that will always get to me, and I will always wish I had known before moving north.
For that reason, I decided to put together a list with the five things I wish I knew before moving north, so others don’t get caught off ward like I did. I mean, these may come as no surprise to those used to them. But hey, for a Madrileña born and (fast) bred like me, finding these out the cold hard way, may have meant many slightly awkward situations.
So here you go, my list of
things I wish I knew before moving north
- During my time in Scotland I heard a joke they love to tell rather often about the weather, which actually applies really well to this point. Most northern-European countries only have two seasons (instead of the usual four). Those are, as the Scots very cleverly state, Summer and Rain, that’s all. So, forget those wardrobe changes every season, here all you’ll need is plenty of waterproof clothes and shoes. Ever heard of the “onion style”? You’ll become a pro at it.
- Following the weather theme, you may have noticed I didn’t mention anything of umbrellas. Well that was no mistake, I’ll tell you why. In these almost nine years I’ve never seen so many broken umbrellas lying around. Or broken so many of them myself. Why’s that you may ask. Wind, my friend, wind. Tends to be rather windy, and as it tends to rain in every direction, umbrellas are rather useless. Unless you’ve discovered a hamster-ball-kinda-ubrella, then by all means, you’ll stay warm and toasty while the rest of us battle against nature. So, remember, a raincoat is your new best friend.
- And my last but not least point about whether, and I promise I’ll go on to another point, something else, anything. The weather is extremely unpredictable. Which means that it changes insanely fast. So much so that, believe it or not, once I saw, hail, rain, sun, and snow within 5 minutes! That results on you always having to carry that raincoat we talked about before everywhere just in case, and beware if you forget because chances are, you’ll get soaked to the bone!
- As promised this fourth point has nothing to do with weather. Instead with the fact that mornings tend to be rather bright really early (except in winter, then there are no morning at all) and in the north there seem to be no notion of window blinds. Which if you think about it may make some sense since there is not a lot of bright sunny days, still…a pain in the behind for southerners accustomed to sleep in complete darkness! For that reason I’d suggest you invest in a cute sturdy sleep mask (like this sloth one!!), oh and avoid walking around your apartment naked. Yes, yes I did witness some random Danish guy walking around his livingroom stark naked!
- Anyhow, the last thing in my list that I found rather shocking is how aggressive they become while riding a bike (in those countries where they do, and they tend to do a lot up north despite the awful weather). Pay attention not to walk on the bike path or you’ll risk being called all sort of not so nice names. And if they could, they’d complement it with a not so mice push or two along the way (probably not all of them tho).
So that was my top five list of things I wish I knew before moving north in Europa. Is it the same where you live? What is the most shocking daily life thing you encountered while in another country? Did I forget anything essential? I’m curious to hear all about your experiences. Let’s get this conversation started!