Minus Fifteen

It's cold outside. It's so cold it burns. Inside the central heating has turned the air into a desert and you can pretty much walk around in a bikini. The -15 degrees outside come as quite a surprise to your overheated body. At first you feel the cold in your fingers, where the gloves cannot handle the icy wind, then the knees start burning, with every gust of wind you can feel your veins working harder and harder to pump the blood, then there is a numbing tingling feeling that rushes through your legs, your skin shocked by the temperature of the air. Then your face gives in, despite being half protected by the scarf, your nose starts to lose all  the senses.  Maybe it's time to go home?

It sounds rather excruciating. Yet, the last thing I want to do is to stop this morning walk. As I walk I look down at the white snow, listening to the creaking noise of the boots, my mom is next to me and just like twenty years ago we walk the streets and the courtyards of my old neighbourhood. My family has lived in this neighbourhood since the 1940's. My great grandmother used to walk these little streets many years ago.

I am thrilled with the ice blue skies, punctuated by the hot air steam gushing out of the pipes, the cold makes me feel alive, it takes me back to my childhood, makes my mind lucid and alive, freezingly awake.

I am back in Hong Kong, having returned yesterday morning. It feels like I was away for so long, I feel so rested having been spending time with parents, watching movies, sleeping, feasting, visiting castle-like houses in the countryside, going for walks in the snow, catching up with friends and relatives. Long, but short five days.

Short trips always mess around with my concept of time; five days feel like a lifetime, 9 hours like a minute,  stories become timeless and years become millisecond in the lives of ancient cities.  I sometimes panic thinking how quickly life goes by, my grandma was once twenty, full of hopes and dreams, my mom and dad were young parents just 20 years ago, I was just 7, building castles in the snow. Time does not obey any laws or listen to your prayers. It flies at its own pace and you can do absolutely nothing to stop it. I sometimes lie at night thinking am I doing the right thing, asking the right questions, moving in the right direction? In another twenty years time will tell.

As for the trip it was blissful, to play a kid again, to be around my mom and dad, to have them worry about me and wait one of the nights until I got home after I went for drinks with a girlfriend. I left home when I was 18 and while I think independence is the key to ambition and change, I miss being a kid and I really enjoy the comfort of being home! I am grateful for every moment of this trip, for every second spent with my family this CNY, the saddest part deep down I know that separation and living on different sides of the world makes me appreciate them so much more. One always fails to appreciate what they really have until it is taken away.

As for clothes, Russian girls always make me feel scruffy, plus living in Hong Kong makes you forget how to be stylish in the cold without looking like a layered cocoon.  I have  been thinking of getting this Celine bag for the last two months. Do you think the fact that two of my girlfriends have it, is a sign to buy or not to buy? Oh the impossible distinction between the need and the want.

More photos of the feasting part of the trip in the next post. There are cakes, quiches, pickles, Russian kimchi, food markets, home made apfelstrudels and many more delicious amazingness.

P.S. How  chic does my girlfriend look with her petrol blue gloves?

Outfit: Parka Sandro (2 years), jeans Sass&Bide (6 years), Marc Jacobs boots (5 years), Massimo Dutti jumper (this winter :), new Monki necklace, Zara belt, Denise's glasses


  1. welcome back! though it's been extremely cold here (by HK standards) it doesn't sound anything like the cold you were feeling! i think you should get the celine bag....very cute. and, i look forward to seeing more of your pictures from your visit. what blue skies.....living in HK makes you appreciate those, right?

  2. This post, and these pictures, are amazing.
    The one from the air...I love it.
    (Those bags are carried well.)

  3. Love these photos! And yes, those blue gloves are awesome :)

  4. Great pictures, they are great!

  5. Oh yes, loving the petrol blue gloves!! How wonderful to see your photos of daily life in Russia. It's somewhere I have never had the chance to go.

    ~ Clare x

  6. such a gorgeous set of photos! that Celine bag is beautiful. all the saturated colors from the past few seasons have been too good! these things are never 'needs', are they? ;-)

    i know what you mean about being independent - having some wanderlust is something i'm very proud of. restlessness is something that is so liberating i think, especially in a place like SH where there is so much familial interdependence it feels so suffocating to a foreigner like me.

    on a side note - your friend's fur (mink?) vest looks amaaazing!!

  7. i've found your blog today and i love it!
    Great posts!!


  8. oh my goodness those purses are awesome!! such lovely photos!!