Winter in Belarus is not for the faint-hearted. That’s why TUT.BY decided to meet foreigners from countries where snow and ice can be seen only in movies and asked them how they are coping with the Belarusian winter.
They are true daredevils!
Reza from Iran
“I did not leave a dormitory for a week.”
Reza is a student of a medical university, he has been studying in Belarus for a year and a half.
It takes him 15 minutes in quick step from the dormitory to the faculty building. If he needs to go somewhere further, Reza takes a taxi.
“Last year, when I experiences frost for the first time, I did not leave the dormitory for a week,” he says, walking along the trampled snow.
“I do not remember the exact day. That day I planned to go outside and then my neighbour rushed up into a room and said: ‘I just went out for a moment and I had ice in my nose.’
I was scared: how is it possible? And that’s it – I was sitting at home until it became warmer.”
In the province, where Reza lived, there’s snow too. So a “white blanket” is not a miracle for him.
But he says snow in Belarus and snow in his country are very different.
“We can have one or two snowy days. Here everything is white from November till spring.”
We hurry up to the dormitory. Reza is in a warm jacket with a scarf around the neck.
He makes no secret that before coming to Belarus he couldn’t imagine that men can wear underpants.
Now he has two pairs of them. Although he guessed that winters in Minsk are not hot.
“In our country, when they want to say that it is very cold somewhere, they say – like in Siberia. Why? Because cold winds come to us from there.
When I decided to study in Belarus, I opened the map and found that your country is closer to Siberia than Iran. So, it’s logical to expect frost here.”
In Iran Reza was worried how he will cope with the Belarusian winter.
Now it is time for his relatives to worry about him.
“Every time they call me, they necessarily ask about the weather.
And my mother always warns me not to go outside without a hat and jacket.”
When asked whether he would like to come back home to warm up in Iran Reza smiles ans says:
“You can survive the cold weather. You can put on a lot of clothes and do not go outside.
But when I have exams and tests… I want everything to be over as quick as possible so that I can return home.””
Nicole from Ecuador
“I was shocked when I saw Belarusian girls wearing mini-skirts in winter.”
“I flew to Minsk three years ago, it was autumn here and it was already very, very cold.
When I went out to the street, I put on tights and two or three sweaters.
I remember my professor at the university couldn’t understand why I dressed so warm and said that it was actually hot.
Then the winter began. Oh, frost was terrible. But I was shocked by another thing.
The Belarusian girls walked down the streets in mini-skirts despite the weather.
‘How is this possible?’ I thought. And the next year I decided: ‘I’m strong, I can do that.’ And then I started dressing the same way.
It is comfortable, you get used to it. Now I’m more scared of the iced asphalt. Last year, I fell three or four times. I still do not understand how to to walk it.”
Nicole Muela is from Ecuador, she studies at the BSUIR to become a programmer.
Joanna from Venezuela
“I had ice on my eyelashes and mom asked me whether it was photoshopped.”
Joanna’s has been living in Minsk for a year.
The Belarusian frosts do not frighten her – she studied in Russian Ulyanovsk five years ago, where it was -35 ° C in winter.
“Here is a photo of me having ice on my eyelashes. I remember when I sent it to my mother and she asked whether it was a Photoshop.”
In Ulyanovsk she met Pavel from Belarus, they got married and now she is on maternity leave with her daughter Miranda.
“Because of the climate we planned to settle in Caracas, but the situation is unstable there, so we moved to Belarus.
In Ecuador I never checked the weather forecast. I woke up, looked at the sky – if it was sunny, I would wear a top, if it was cloudy, I would take an umbrella.
“Now my morning starts with checking how many degrees are outside, the wind speed and its direction and think how many pants to wear,” Johanna describes her routine.
“When it’s frosty I’m trying not to leave the house. It is good that food and water can be ordered on the Internet.”
Joanna says that In Caracas it is considered to be cold when it is +16 ° C.
This year the locals were shocked when snow fell in Merida.
Read also: Typical problems foreigners face in Belarus
“The snow in Venezuela is a rare, so everyone is going out to take photos and make small snowmen.”
Joanna jokes that her fellow countrymen should see what is now outside her window.
A man in shorts and slippers comes out of the entrance, strides between small snowdrift to the dumpsters, throws out garbage bags and slowly returns back.
“My husband’s dad, fore example. He and his wife live in a village.
And for him it’s okay — to go in slippers to feed the rabbits when it is – 15 °C.
I ask him how he does it. And he answers that it is fine, he is a Belarusian.”
Still afraid of coming to Belarus in winter? Don’t, use our guide of vitals tips that will help you survive the season!