Monday, December 05, 2011

The winter charade

Winter is almost here. For many of you, that means below-freezing temperatures, snow, and maybe even some school cancellations. Others of you have been dealing with that stuff for weeks now.

For those of us in the UAE, winter means that we all participate in the charade that it is cold now. We do this by wearing sweaters and occasionally scarves and sometimes even a coat (!), especially in the mornings. This morning, Magdalena rode her bike to school wearing short sleeves and shorts. Somehow, it felt wrong to have her do that in December, so I put a jacket on her for show. Never mind that it was probably about 80 degrees outside, or close to it.

Still, I eat up this season of reduced temperatures. I've paid careful attention to all four seasons and I don't think it's as bad as some people would have had us believe before we moved here. We heard all kinds of horror stories, such as the legend that there are only two seasons here: summer, and really really hot summer.

The truth is that it's very nice weather here (in my opinion) for a good seven months. From about 15 October to 15 May, the weather does not adversely affect the business of your daily life (read: it's not so hot that you physically cannot walk around outside). And really, that's about as much as you can ask of a place. Consider: the non-brutal-wintery season of Ithaca lasted a similar length.

So I'm happy to have my seven months of gorgeous weather, even if it doesn't come with all the visual cues (or even the very low temperatures) of deep winter. And now if you see me wearing a sweater when it's 80 degrees outside, you'll know why.


Crys said...

Sounds like you've gotten over your seasonal depression :) So I grew up in Arizona and in the winter we always wore coats, gloves, hats, scarves you know the works. We honestly felt cold. Now living in the midwest those cold Arizona days are the temps that my kids shed their longs sleeves and coats and run around outside. It's amazing how your body learns to adjust itself.

Kathy Haynie said...

Several years ago I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica in November-December, studying Spanish. I was in the temperate mountains outside of San Jose, not down by the muggy coast. It was after the rainy season, temperatures in the 70s, beautiful weather. It was snowing at home in Oregon. But I noticed that my Spanish teacher kept taking her sweater off and putting it back on. "Hace frio" (it's cold) she would say if a little breeze sprung up. (The classroom didn't have glass windows, just wooden louvers. The weather was that mild all year long.) When the breeze died down, the sweater would come off, and she would exclaim, "Hace calor" (it's hot). I never did notice any difference, but she was quite sincere. She and the other teachers all commented on the changeable weather. They were that fine-tuned to the minor fluctuations.

Liz Johnson said...

I'm so glad that things are cooling down for you. I've discovered that after four years of brutal Midwestern winters, my body has actually adjusted down ten degrees. When it used to feel freezing cold at 35, I no longer get that "brr" feeling until it's 25. And I honestly don't believe that I need anything more than a sweatshirt unless it's below that. I mean, I'll wear a coat if it's going to be windy and in the high 20's, but I almost feel like I'm going overboard.

But if it gets above 75, I kind of feel like I should strip down to the bare minimum and lay very still on a cold concrete floor so as to not overheat. I really think I have just adjusted in a Darwin-esque way to my surroundings. It's a rather fascinating phenomenon.

Bridget said...

The UAE has been hard on my reverse SAD, but I will say that I've learned to appreciate bright shiny sun when it's accompanied by cooler temperatures. And I soak in any moment of overcast that I can.


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