Though there are few things that please me about the seasonal progression of colder temperatures and gray skies that are the daily expectation around this time every year, I must admit that I do like being able to bundle up into a warm coat. In October 2009, I was especially focused on finding just the right coat to purchase to keep me warm(er) in Russia. I looked and looked until I settled on a practical brown snowboarders coat that got me thru the winter. Did I ever hate that coat! In my simple girl American eyes, it seemed like every woman and daughter had a incredibly beautiful coat. I can remember a mental game I played to see if I could match one coat with another. It seemed like every coat was unique, like there was not an exact replica of any style.
One morning I found myself in a shack with no plumbing and almost no heating. The warmest place was on the kitchen floor, so the people living there were sleeping on the it. Because we were company and because Russians are pretty much the most hospitable people ever once you set foot in their home and they decide they like you, the house was warmed up for the visit I made with a priest. Of course the first thing that my eyes and brain sought out was-do really poor people still wear coats with dead animals on them? The answer is: indeed they sure do!
Long walks in Vladivostok were so much more interesting because of my acquired coat obsession.
When I came back to the States, I made many resolutions. One of my least important resolutions was to get a serious coat with lots of character. It had to be unique, nothing like the snowboarders coat that got me thru in Vlad. I looked and looked in stores here. Nothing caught my eye. So I turned to ebay, and spent many a night browsing for the perfect Russian inspired winter wear. I did all this coat browsing while talking to a guy that I had no interest in on the phone. He would tell me about wanting to ice fish and snowboard with me, and I would half way listen while focusing on my pursuit of coat happiness. I finally settled on a designer coat that I wanted to order from China.Unsure if I should buy a size medium or small I asked my mom. She used the Chinese sizing chart to measure me. It’s a good thing she did before I sent in my purchase, because by their standards I am a size XL. Global coat buying is a complicated matter!
Gratitude is one of the most priceless things one can conceive within their heart. Though I hate the cold outside, I am contented to have a coat that I am grateful for. The gratitude extends far beyond the material properties of the coat. It goes all the way back to Russia where I learned so much about the beauty and weight of love, and the legitimacy of a coat with some character.
P.S. Perhaps I should note that my Chinese coat with “character” looks more like something that Sherlock Homes would wear then something that a tiny Russian lady would own. It is by no means offensive to PETA and is lacking of the dramatic tone that the coats in Russia flourished. What can I say? I guess I am just a simple American girl.