The Experience

“When we came to France it was cold outside and inside the house only 18°C. In Russia we keep indoors to a minimum of 22 °C. Now I got used to the temperature, throw on a couple of sweaters and you are fine, haha. But I know a lot of Russians in France who are freezing here. A lot of people think that Russians like the cold. We don’t, we just know how to deal with it. What I did to be precise, in France, was I switched on a gas cooker to heat up my hands when my French mother-in-law shouted out to me:

– ‘What are you doing? Gas in France is very expensive!’”

Place Bretagne, France

Date 2018

Who Talks

Irina is a Russian in her late twenties. She is happily married to her French entrepeunerial husband. She studied Montessori teaching in Singapore, and now takes care of their daughter while running the B&B and Russian side of their wine business.

What do You Think?

Catherine, French (2004) : “When I lived in Nanjing, in the south of the Yangtze, the heating was never turned on at the university. When I arrived in the classroom in the morning, the windows were wide open, fresh air was needed. I hastened to shut them down, the rule being that the heating was only turned on during official visits. No heating in the houses either. We, as foreigners, lived in a privileged place so we had the reverse air conditioning heating, but that was not the case for students and it was very cold in their dorms too.

In the classrooms, the students were wearing their coats, mittens and hats. I came with my thermos of tea, I was frozen. They once said to me, 'Should we go to the library?'

- Is it heated?

- No, but there are a lot of us, so it's warmer!”