Saturday, October 22, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Ahhh….Autumn is in the air for you folks up in the States.  My friends back at home have mentioned how excited they are to get their first spiced pumpkin flavored latte from Starbucks.  Or, how great of a time they had with their kids at the pumpkin patch/hayride excursion they went on over the weekend.  People are talking about warming up inside next to their first fire of the season, and I’ve seen recent pictures of folks wearing knitted hats and crocheted scarfs. 
However, for me nothing has changed.  I woke up this morning to the same 80 degree, clear, sunny day that I woke up to 3 months ago, and I’ll continue to wake up to this same sunny day indefinitely.  The sun rose at the same time it always does, and it only goes down about 30 minutes earlier than it did when we first moved here.  People down here say that there is a noticeable change in the temperature this time of year, but I’ve only noticed that the evenings are slightly cooler…I mean slightly – like, maybe 5 degrees.  I wear the same shorts, sandals, skirts and t-shirts that I’ve been wearing here all along, and I’m still throwing on a swimsuit after work for a quick dip in the ocean.  The doors to our home are completely open, with a warm ocean breeze coming through.  And, this weekend I plan on golfing all day on Sunday and going for a long run outside.  I haven't even checked to see what the weather will be like for either day's plans.  It’s assumed.            
Yesterday morning, as I drove my car to work through the hills, my windows down, the AC pumping and my sunroof wide open, I couldn’t help but think about what life was like for me back at home this time of year. 
I would be weighed down by the stress of the busiest time of year at work – impossible sales goals, endless emails and the deafening sound of the phone constantly ringing.  Days would be getting significantly shorter, the sun would start hiding behind the clouds more and more, and a damp coldness would be settling in.  Even though I had spent time piling on heavy and constricting clothes - a hat, a scarf, a jacket and boots, I’d inevitably scurry from my car to my office, uncomfortably trying to get inside as soon as possible and oblivious to anything or anyone else.  Taking out the dogs for a walk was an unwanted chore…waiting for them to go to the bathroom so that I could immediately hurry back inside to escape the elements.  As evenings got colder, I'd end up just wanting to stay inside and watch TV.  I now realize how confining a climate can be.            
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the comfort and coziness of a crisp, cool autumn day, sitting at home in a snugly sweater, making a hearty meal while watching football.  I enjoyed taking our dogs to play in the park when the leaves had changed colors and curling up on the couch under a blanket to warm up next to my boyfriend.  I had fun carving pumpkins and dressing up for a Halloween party with friends.  However, all of that coziness was somewhat tough to enjoy, knowing that the dreaded long, cold winter was close to follow, and to me the thought of another lifeless winter to come was often daunting and depressing.
Regardless, I always thought that the seasons changing was a guarantee – kind of like the sun coming up and going back down.  It’s surreal for me to know that people back at home are experiencing a change of climate when I’m not experiencing any change whatsoever.  Since we moved here in May, the weather has been relatively similar to what it's like back at home.  It wasn't odd for me to be at the beach, or outside hiking when my friends and family at home were also outside enjoying the weather, but now I'm realizing that our worlds are more different than they were at first.  All of you back at home are hunkering down for the looming winter, yet I'll continue to enjoy all the benefits that a beautiful day has to offer.  It's kind of like being in a time warp, but it truly makes me realize not only the impact that an environment can have on your life, but also how much larger the world really is.  I had no idea. 

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