Sometimes I anticipate the cold like I’m anticipating a slap. At other times I feel eager for it, thinking the surprise will be good for me. Often it seems unreal, as I sit at my desk, in a sleeveless dress, listening to the slap-slap-slap of the thongs of the people going past, or crack ice cubes out of the tray, or walk out onto my street in the morning and the houses seem hyper-real because the sun is so bright. I cannot imagine that it is winter anywhere. Summer feels endless, I can only imagine that it will follow me wherever I go. Not so, Vanessa, you are powerful in some ways, but not that powerful.

 Everyone who I have told I am going to Germany has made a comment about the cold, so much so that I feel as if I am about to go into battle. Will the callow Australian be frozen to death on the zero degree streets? I must collect armour. I have been offered a number of coats:

  1. Rachael’s black Berlin coat, tested in the city itself.
  2. Uncle John’s green woolen coat, which he bought in the 60s, in London.
  3. Mother’s grey Japan mountains in winter coat.

At the moment, I think I’ll go with Uncle John because it is closest to my aesthetic. I have been led to believe that all vanity will be abandoned once I actually feel this cold, but surely it is possible to be stylish and warm? I have even resorted to looking at street fashion blogs  as research. I have been turning my room upside down looking for my thick Russian hat with the flaps. I bought this ten or so years ago and have never had a proper reason to wear it, except as an affectation, and now that it is necessary can I find it?

 Sewing new buttons onto Uncle John’s coat, I can hardly bear to have it over my legs. It’s 35 degrees outside, just looking at the road outside makes the soles of my feet tingle. When all the buttons are secure and I try on the coat, I feel like I am suffocating in cloth. It is strange to think that what now is unbearable will be indispensable in only a few weeks. Not very long at all. I wrote out the days to go before I leave, and drew messy squares around each of them. Seventeen melting fudge square days, for me to use to sort things out, to buy things like stockings and power adapters, and photocopy February and March in my Texta Queen calendar, so I can put it up on the walls of the rooms I stay in, and it will be a piece of my room, transplanted.

 I only know that things will be different to how I imagine them to be. I’m a fan of anticipation, images branch out in my head when I try and think of myself doing even the most banal things, sitting on my bed at night, writing in my journal, standing in a kitchen, flipping a switch on the kettle, I am flipping through a photo album of guesses. While I like it, anticipation can be maddening. There’s some part of me that wants to walk out into the freezing cold street now, so I finally know what it feels like.


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2 Responses to “Kälte”

  1. Sigourney Says:

    You might be disappointed, it is unusually warm right now, +10°C. In Hamburg, that is, in the south of Germany it is often colder (and they have more snow.)

  2. Carolee Says:

    I was quite cold the last day we were there, mainly because the rain had gotten through my boots and my little toes were cold. The fast road to crankytown.

    My advice is bring mittens, and a nice warm scarf, and good walking boots that are big enough to wear both tights and socks at the same time.

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