I’m the kind of girl who prefers winter over summer, especially if there is snow involved! Just think about it, in winter it’s cold, this is true, but it’s nothing that a good jacket won’t fix or perhaps a jacket, jumper, two pairs of pants, beanie, gloves and scarf won’t fix. However, in Summer there are only so many clothes you can remove, before you’re arrested for indecent exposure. Especially in the Australian summers that I am used to, it wouldn’t matter if you were completely naked, you would still be sweating your arse off every time you step out of an air-conditioned building.
Most people think of the Australian summer is all beachy and beautiful, this is not the reality. Summer in Australia is usually like this: Sweat everywhere as soon as you step outside, getting third degree burns on the soles of your feet if you try to run in bare foot on concrete, trying to cool down by going for a swim only then to realise that the pool water is the same temperature as a bath after a week of 40+ degrees Celsius days. I know winter isn’t all fun in the snow, but I still prefer it over summer.
However, something needs to be said about going out-and-about with three kids in winter time, it’s not an easy feat, let me tell you that, especially when using public transport.
Some of you may know that I am the mother of three children, my daughter is 8 and my boys are aged 5 and 3. Before coming to Budapest, they had never been on public transport before, not only is public transport in Australia expensive and unreliable, unless you really have to. It is actually easier to drive and even pay for parking, especially with three kids. In Australia I drive an SUV, because we needed something large enough to fit in three children’s car seats at the time, but I live in the suburbs and am not a fan of driving in the city, only doing it when necessary. When deciding to relocate to Budapest for an extended time though, I came to accept the fact that I probably would not be driving here. Even though I love my car and the convenience of simply putting the kids in and off we go, I was totally OK with not driving in Budapest. Not only is it a capital city, but they also drive on the opposite side of the road to Australia, something that still confuses the heck out of me after being here for four months and petrol is ridiculously expensive, especially considering the average wages here. So, with public transport being so reliable and cheap (less than $50AUD for unlimited public transport within Budapest for the month), it was no competition.
The children love going on all the trams, buses, subways, trains and boats, it still excites them after four months of public transport. There is a downside to this in winter though.
First of all let me describe to you how it is to get three children ready to venture outside in the middle of winter. It takes us about two hours to even get out the door, by the time everyone has had breakfast, gotten dressed (in the basics to start) and brushed their teeth. Then it’s time to gauge how cold it is by looking out the window and seeing what other people are wearing or simply sticking your head out the window. This way we can decide how many pairs of pants to put on the children, which jackets to wear and if they need an extra jumper and their beanies, scarves and gloves. Then it is time for everyone to put on their boots and to put on the children’s beanies, jackets, scarves and gloves one-by-one. I learnt the hard way to dress my youngest last, otherwise by the time we are finished, he has already taken everything off because he is hot inside. Then it’s time to head on out the door and then begins the ultimate battle of wills as we try to keep the children from stripping off because they are hot on whatever form of public transport we happen to be on. I completely understand how the children feel, sometimes the heater on the bus or tram is cranked so high, you would still be warm and toasty in a singlet and shorts, but it takes so long to get each of them dressed that taking off their beanies, scarves and things for the few moments we are on there is simply not an option, no matter how much of a cranky face my three-year-old pulls.
Another thing you don’t consider is going shopping with three children, again the heater in the shopping centres is cranked to the max and given the time it takes to shop with three children, this is the time when they are allowed to take off their “winter woolies”. However, with my husband and I included, that equates to a trolley full of jackets, scarves and the rest and we end up getting two trolleys just to do a little shopping.
So, unless it is raining or blowing gale forced winds, our chilly travels as a family of five usually consist of a minimal amount of travel combined with outdoor activities that all can enjoy with our “winter woolies” to keep us warm.
Despite the difficulties of travelling in winter with three children, I can say that if I had to choose between winter and summer, I would still choose winter every time.
On another note, we are already 7 days into this month and I have only written 1,000 words out of the 8,000 I am supposed to write by the end of the month. I’m procrastinating again, somebody please come and kick my arse and tell me to write this bloody story!
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.