I’m really not a person who talks about the weather – I find it the most boring, pointless conversation on earth. Are people really so surprised each year when it turns warm in the summer and cold in the winter?! It’s really not a shock, it happens every year.
Having said that, now that I’m living in a permanently warm climate, the weather is a teeny bit interesting, just for a bit, whilst it’s still a novelty. Once a whole year’s cycle is done, the novelty will have worn off and it will return to being uninteresting again.
The hot, humid, relentless summer wasn’t interesting, it was just horrible. It didn’t matter that the sun was shining, I never wanted to venture outside, it was just too unpleasant! For 5 months! Most days it rained as summertime is also the rainy season in Hong Kong. Unlike in England when a summer rain shower would clear the air and make everything fresh again, here it did not. If anything it made it worse. To those who haven’t lived in a climate like this before, I could only tell them to imagine living in a sauna for a few months – with clothes on – and that would give a pretty clear picture of what it felt like here over the summer. The only respite was 3 gloriously fresh weeks in London – that was our equivalent of the sauna door being opened.
After the suffering came the reward. As October arrived, the humidity dropped significantly, the rainy season moved on and we have been left with day after day of warm, fresh, sunny weather. Boy, do we deserve it though. You reallly have to earn your Autumn round here!
And now it’s November and the weather has cooled even more. Not cold of course – it barely dips below 20 degrees, most of the time it’s around 25. I’m still wearing short sleeves and open toed shoes during the day, only putting my shorts and vest tops aside for maybe a few months. I even put my jeans on a few days ago! The locals of course are freezing, walking around in heavy coats, long sleeves and multiple layers. I break out in a sweat just looking at them. I think they only do it because this is their only chance as the weather won’t really get much colder and they want to show off their winter wardrobes. They’re probably all melting under it all! Actually, they’re probably not. I’ve never seen such unflustered, unsweaty people anywhere in the world. Even in 35 degree heat and 100% humidity they’re still cool as a cucumber.
The other day as I was getting ready to take Eden to nursery I decided it was time to layer her up with a cardigan. The mornings are the coolest part of the day. I warm up pretty quickly as I schlep the buggy up the hill to nursery but she’s just sitting still so I need to remember that. As I performed the simple action of holding out her cardigan for her to put on, she looked at me quite blankly and I realised she didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing. She was clearly thinking that she is already dressed so why does she need to get more dressed? It dawned on me that 7 months in Hong Kong is actually now a quarter of her little life so far (gulp) and she probably has no recollection of the layered life she left behind in London. She didn’t have a clue about putting on a cardigan or jacket to go outside. She doesn’t remember ever wearing more than one layer. After a physical battle that would have involved a straight-jacket had I had one, the cardigan was finally on. I had to strap her quickly into the buggy to stop her ripping it off again and off we went. Needless to say, when we got to Nursery, she also didn’t understand the concept that once you arrive at your destination you then take your outer layers off. She refused to take off the cardigan and it was still on by the time I collected her at the end of the morning! She probably thinks I was totally nuts going through all that battle to get it on, only to tell her to take it off again 10 minutes later!
It would be round about this time of year, in another life, that my Christmas excitement starts to mount. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not meant to – but it’s FUN! I love it all – the TV adverts, the crappy TV programmes themselves, the decorations everywhere, the Christmas catalogues, friends and family all being off work and spending quality time together, love it. I’m not really getting it here though – yet. I’ve been reliably told not to worry, that I won’t be disappointed by Hong Kong and before I know it the whole city will have gone completely over the top with decorations like they did at Halloween.
But I’m sorry, it just won’t be the same. For Christmas to be Christmas for me, I need to be cold. I want to be freezing. I want to feel the warmth from central heating. It needs to be dark for most of the day. I need my Christmas TV Guide that by mid-December would normally be fully highlighted to ensure that not one Christmas Special passes me by. Instead I’ll have to settle for BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD that spends so much time buffering that I’ll probably still be watching Noel’s Christmas Presents next July.
If I’m walking around in sunglasses and flip-flops instead of Ugg boots and a coat, it’s just wrong. I love Christmas at home too much to want to miss one, or two, maybe three (gulp again). What’s the opposite of Scrooge? I think it’s me.
Still, it’s all part of this experience, isn’t it? Fast forward to a winter down the line when I’m freezing cold in November in London, moaning about the weather (to myself of course) and craving winter sun, I’m going to look like a bit of a plonker that I just wrote this. At least Eden will know what a coat is again, I guess.
I’m really not moaning too much – as I lay on a sunbed and took this picture yesterday, I did feel quite good really!