Sunday, February 27, 2011

Small Pleasures

Today was what shall henceforth be referred to as a nose-hair-freezing day; three layers of clothing and a couple of hot coffees did nothing to dispel the chill in my bones. After a busy morning hithering and thithering - finding a new kettle that doesn't imbue the water with heavy metals; buying vegetables and bread from a far-away bazaar; a long trek across town to find a rumoured Italian coffee place that ended up selling nothing more than weird Russian tiramisu and horrid grainy espresso - I was glad to spend the afternoon tucked up on the couch under a quilt (sent by a friend who made it out of old jumpers - it's quite something, and so cosy), alternately listening to good music, researching cheap travel options for summer, and knitting up a storm. Yesterday, a couple of students showed me the way to a wool store, where I was very excited to discover glittery knitting needles that looked more like twirling batons than anything, and whole skeins of yarn in not entirely loathsome colours. Half a scarf has ensued.

Oh, I also bought some tealight candles; the packaging had a picture of an apple on the front, so I assumed that they were going to smell appropriately apple-ish, only it turns out that they emit a faintly chemical odour for about an hour before turning to mush. Still, they provided a warming glow while they lasted, which, in combination with my blanket and my knitting, was a perfectly pleasing circumstance.

It's been a day of small pleasures, really. I even got a seat on a marshrutka, which is a marvel above other marvels (with the possible exemption of finding good coffee in antiquated ex-Soviet cities). Yesterday's snowfall was so thick that it was still very pretty today. It fell in feathery pieces from tree branches as I walked under them; I have an antipodean fascination with snow in all its aspects, including the way snowflakes taste, the satisfying crunch of it under boots, and how to fashion it into snowballs that can be used to pay back certain students who barrage unsuspecting teachers in the schoolyard.

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