Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eternal sunshine

I never blog about the weather here. Have you noticed? This is partly because I learned my lesson from complaining about Tucson so much. I knew that if I wrote about the heat in Sharjah, it would be hard to keep it from turning into me complaining about the heat. And that wouldn't be fair because nobody forced us to move here and everybody warned us it would be hot. So really, I held off on blogging about the weather because I wanted to withhold judgment until I'd experienced a good few months of the UAE climate.

And the verdict is: it's hot. And I haven't even gone through a summer yet (I suspect that people here count their time in summers, just as in Ithaca people counted it in winters). September and October were very hot and humid. I can hardly imagine what June, July, and August are like. Well, actually, I can: hotter and even more humid. However - and this may be a pointless, overly minute distinction - the extreme heat is mitigated by the fact that everywhere has AC. EVERYWHERE, including the little guard shacks on campus. Heck, even the bus stops (in Dubai, at least) have little air-conditioned enclosures.

So in a way, that softens the UAE climate down to the level of, say, Egypt or Syria, where the summers are not as hot temperature-wise, but you can't always count on having AC everywhere you go (including your own apartment). You'd probably end up sweating the same amount in Cairo in August as you would in Sharjah when it comes right down to it.

Now, let's move on to the UAE winter. It's a curious thing. Right around November 1 (last year, at least), it cooled down markedly. I distinctly remember sitting outside with Jeremy early one November evening while the girls played at the park and there came a moment when we looked at each other and simultaneously realized that we were not sweating profusely. It was a real turning point. For the last few months, it's been mostly sunny, with some overcast days, and some rain (and even a few fleeting storms), and a crisp, pleasant chill in the air throughout the day and night.

It was never truly cold, though, not really. Sure, you'd see people walking around in sweaters and coats and even hats sometimes, but that's more because if you don't wear your sweater/coat/hat in January, when WILL you? (The answer is: never.)

I think the winter is over now. The temperature is creeping back up and the chill that I enjoyed so much is gone, at least from the daytime hours. Which means that November, December, January, and February are officially going to be the months where I make sure to soak in all the moments of bleakness and cold we get, and then store it up so it can last me all summer long. I'll have to dole it out in very small pieces, I suppose, on only the sunniest and hottest days.

The strangest thing about not having highly contrastive seasons is that time seems to stand still. Honestly, I have to look at a calendar here to remind me what month (not day, MONTH) it is more often than anywhere else I've lived. Looking out my front window gives me absolutely no indication of the time of year. It could be July. It could be December. Does this make me sad? A little. But I don't focus on it, or at least I try not to.

And so, today, March 1, to spring/summer, I say: bring it on.


Brittany Cornett said...

I know once you said you had reverse sad maybe you can sit in a dark room and picture the different seasons instead of the light box. Lame joke i know. I like that we can at least visit different climates if we want to but I expect it is farther away for you.

Liz Johnson said...

That Burj really is insane. I can't get over how much bigger it is than everything else!

Sweating profusely drives me nuts. I would probably go crazy and/or become a hermit in Sharjah. That said, I have been gushing about how I want to find my kids an elementary school that will teach them Arabic/French like the one you found, so I want to move there anyways. Seriously.

That said, I cannot even tell you how happy I am that it's March. I hate February in South Bend.

Kathy Haynie said...

Hmmm...this week our weather is all the same here in Oregon City: rain, rain, rain, and rain again. Sigh. Too bad we can't trade a little weather. :)

Trina said...

Crazy that you even a little bit miss the bitter cold if Ithaca. We've had some seriously miserable cold days! I tolerate winter pretty well, but come about March first I'm pretty done! Like this weekend I decided that spring and summer should definitely come soon!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

As Kathy said, too bad we can't trade a little weather. Here in Beaverton it has been cold & rainy with some snow thrown in last week. It must be snowing this morning in areas around us because I just read that schools are closed in Banks & Clatskanie and other areas to the west, and some Hillsboro buses are on snow routes.

You could develop a coping pattern for the heat. The many months of summer would be the time you and the kids stay inside more to read, play games, sew, or write. Have indoor projects for the girls. Take an occasional trip to the snow in the mall and go swimming in the evenings. Winter then would be your outdoor time.

Jeremy Palmer said...

Winter is very much our outdoor time here. It will be sad when it is over in a month or less. I love the cold. I love the snow. I'm happy here for a few years. Next job should be in a very cold place. Any recommendations?

Carrie G said...

Once when we were living in Puerto Rico I forgot my sister's birthday...not because the specific day snuck up on me, but because I forgot it was SEPTEMBER. It was the strangest sensation, after I realized my mistake, to think "wait, it's FALL?!"
So I identified a lot with what you were saying here.

Liz Johnson said...



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