LIFE IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

Life in Lapland is cold, snowy, and filled with reindeer and Christmas decorations. Exactly what you would expect from ‘The Official Home of Santa Claus’. I have taken a trip to the Santa Claus Village to cross the Arctic Circle line and meet the real Santa (back in October as he is around all year except Dec 25th obviously). That is probably the most tourist-y thing I have done since being here. Oh and attending the ‘Official opening of Christmas season’ announced by Santa himself. It’s got to be done if you live in Lapland.

Other than that I have just been in awe of the winter wonderland that surrounds me. It’s not unusual to walk to the supermarket and have reindeer sleeping in the car park. It surprised me how they are not threatened by human presence although all of them will be killed for meat and other things (this upsets me a lot as I am vegetarian). The cold here is not as hard as I thought it would be to deal with. I was prepared and bought the appropriate clothing before moving (base layers, down coat, snow boots etc.) so the cold was something I did not notice that much. It is a lot of effort to leave the flat every day, taking at least five minutes to wrap up, and then you end up sweating before you have even left the flat. Interesting fact; if it is -8 degrees or lower, your hair, nose hairs, eyelashes all freeze from your breath. Nice. One thing that is definitely proving a challenge is the lack of light. At the moment the sun rises at 9:42am and sets at 2:23pm. Travelling to University in the dark and returning in the dark does begin to feel depressing and tiring. I have been taking my vitamin D tablets for 2 months now. In December the sun will rise at 11:01am and set at 1:23pm. Two and a half hours of daylight. Help.

One of the most sought-after sights that people dream of is seeing the Northern lights, which I have seen 5 times maybe. They are beautiful. They dance and move so quickly creating ephemeral shapes and changing colours from green to pink. If you see pink and purples flickers it means the aurora is strong. I have tried to photograph them but it is very hard without a tripod. I will definitely be bringing mine back from England when I go home for Christmas. I feel very lucky that I can say I live in Lapland. It’s not every day you run into reindeer, see the Northern lights and watch people skiing to work (well here it is).