How to survive at Pfutsero
It is freezing cold here at Pfutsero. There were reports of snowfall last month (December 2013). And cold weather can be incapacitating. People from warm places dread the climate and do not plan to visit during winter. But not so for people who make their home at Pfutsero.
How do people at Pfutsero go on living? As someone who was born and brought up at Pfutsero, let me share some survival tips. They are not in any particular order.
1. Rather than wear one thick sweater/jacket/shawl, wear several layers of clothes. There is a scientific principle behind it. Person A sleeps with one blanket which is 3 inches thick; while Person B sleeps with two blankets each of 1.5 inches thickness. Which one will be warmer? They are of the same thickness (3=1.5+1.5). But due to air being trapped in between the two blankets (which retains heat), Person B will feel warmer.
2. It is not just the temperature but the wind/breeze which should be kept in mind. Therefore wear a wind-proof dress on the outside while cotton/wool can be worn on the inside.
3. Shawl can restrict physical movement if you are not used to it. So, if you want to stay warm and also maintain physical movement, put off shawl and put on a wind-proof half-jacket over whatever you are wearing. Forget Fashion. This is about survival.
4. Proper dressing can save fuel (charcoal, firewood) and electricity.
5. Keep your feet warm and your whole body will be warm. While going out at night, always cover your head and your ears.
6. OK. As per the law of physics described above, you sleep with three blankets instead of two with equal thickness. Chances are, that in the course of the night, one of the blankets will slip off and you will wake up in the dead of the night shivering. The trick that I used last year to prevent this was: I tied the ends of the blankets with a rope so that they all will stick together. This is funny but it worked for me.
7. Physical activity generates heat. Lying/sitting idly by the fire/heater does not produce lasting heat. So, dress up and do some rigorous physical activity in the morning. This will keep you going through the day. Sharpen your dao and cut grass around your home. This works for me. Morning shows the day. But if you’ve sweated, don’t try to dry it by the heat of your body. Take off your vest and wear a new one.
8. Taking bath is a challenge. But taking regular bath seems to help in fighting the cold.
9. Beware of sunburn from sunbath.
10. Eating Fats warms the body but be mindful of Blood Pressure and other health complications.
11. Minor engineering works around the house can help in reducing the wind, increasing sunlight, retaining heat indoors, improving ventilation especially while using charcoal, etc.
12. The mind plays a big role in fighting the cold. If you think it is cold, you will feel cold. If you think it is not that cold, you will be able to bear it.