We were on Brighton Beach on Sunday for a visit to good friends. The area has been officially branded as “Little Russia by the Sea” since the last time I set foot there. True as ever, the vast majority of people on the streets are Russian emigrants.
Natasha noted that Russian children that we saw were all properly warmly dressed in freezing air temperatures. Winter coats, wool hats, thick scarves and mittens… That was in contrast with American children that we oftentimes see around where we live, who wear what I’d charitable call inadequate clothing in cold weather, so much so that I start shivering just by looking at them. (I’m getting cold from looking at you is a common Russian saying addressed at anyone who is not dressed warm enough as the weather dictates.)
I found that cultural difference mildly amusing. People born in Russia are often stereotyped as being impervious of the cold weather (or even affectionate of it), but the truth of the matter is, we simply make sensible decisions what to wear on cold days. Which means we are not as cold as someone who wears a short leather jacket when it’s 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside, yet is perpetually impressed how Russians can tolerate cold temperatures.