Russians are constantly at war. The people versus the elements is the most evident struggle. The weather here is obviously cold, having been compared by many to Siberia…which is also in Russia. The big cities like Moscow and Petersburg have big buildings and gross amounts of smog and pollution to trap the heat. No such luck out here in Vladimir.
The Russian winter breaks people. No one is safe from it, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not talking about snow or even blizzards. I’m talking about temperatures near zero or lower (Fahrenheit) everyday, for weeks on end, which by the way is cold enough to freeze any moisture coming out of your nose (congratulations, you’ve been sniffling because IT’S COLD), which is the most pleasant experience ever. Obviously. This occurs approximately two steps outside of your building, and makes for some long mornings.
I have learned to dread the warm spells even more than the cold though. Outside my apartment building and the surrounding complex, the sidewalks are covered for the most part in up to a foot of ice. After enough pavement pounding and some snow to grant traction, parts can be uncovered by men who are hired to go around chipping the ice away. Of course these perfect days only occur a few times a month, leaving odd sections of stair-steps, from the top of the ice layer to actual concrete. That being said, the women here in their six-inch stiletto heels are responsible for using these as ice picks and preventing general mayhem. When the temperature rises to freezing or a little above, all of their hard work is disintegrated by the melting ice, which liquefies just enough to seep into the cracks and uneven surfaces, only to freeze over again the next day. Hell, you understand.
Surprisingly enough, I’ve only fallen once (on the ice, haha) since I’ve been here. It seems to me that Russians have an innate ability to keep their feet under them, though I have managed to catch a few moments of indignity.
This being said, I propose all military units send their trainees to Russia to survive the winter. Good luck.