A year without seasons

I grew up in a part of the world that experiences all four seasons with a vengeance.  Snow up to your ass in Winter.  Heat and humidity conspiring to drive you to your knees in summer.  Breathtakingly gorgeous fall colors.  Rainy springs with just enough sun to give you hope.  The number of hours of daylight reflected the season; winter’s frigid cold wasn’t helped by the fact that it was dark when I left for work and was often dark when I headed home, spring meant the return of daylight after 4 or 5pm, Summer had long days with the late sunset around 9, and Fall’s return to school meant a that the number of sunlit hours would again wane.  This rhythm of the year is a deep part of me.

We call this “Fall”

Which is why Singapore is so disorienting.  Seasons are meaningless here.  Sure there are things to mark time by…the relatively cooler Dec/Jan/Feb, and the more humid and hot July/August/September.  And of course the annual haze in Octoberish….let’s not forget that pleasant experience.  But by and large, every day is going to be around 90, sunny, humid, and there will be a rainstorm at some point, usually short (except in the Dec/Jan/Feb/March period).  The sun will shine from 7 to 7.  It will be dark from 7 to 7.  Life is…constant and predictable.

There are pros and cons to this sort of consistency.  I don’t need 3 or 4 full sets of clothes (in theory…in reality, we do because we travel).  I don’t need to check the weather report.  There will be no months of anxious tv watching worrying about who will keep an eye on the kids if a snow day is declared and school is canceled.  There are no fights with Elanor about whether or not she needs a jacket to go out (except when we’re traveling).  There is no digging my car out of a snow embankment created when a plow went through.  But it also means that time, seasons, and months lose their meaning.

We call that white stuff snow…it plagues us each winter

It feels impossible that March is finishing up already.  That it’s the first day of Spring.  Aside from the lack of decorations on Orchard Road, it could easily be Christmastime here.

Spring brings the green

It’s interesting how life in Singapore has changed travel for me, with regards to weather.  While I now have an aversion to being places when it’s “winter” there (if indeed it does get cold), I am eager to go places experiencing spring/fall weather.  A difference in temperature, the chance to wear jeans again (without sweating) is an exciting novelty that adds to the attractiveness of a trip.

Summer bring the 4th and the parades

Part of me wonders how I’ll adjust back when we do finally go home to the US.  How long until I remember that yes, you  need to check a weather report daily?  I was often guilty of going out last November without a jacket because it just didn’t occur to me that I’d need one…only to go back inside and get one.  Will I be happy to have the seasons back, or will I miss the consistency of equatorial weather?

It’s Singapore…guess the season!

If you’ve been there, done that (lived somewhere with profoundly different weather from your home, and then returned home) how did your transition go?

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16 Responses to A year without seasons

  1. nancy says:

    Love the seasonal photos you included.
    It’s funny that even for as a grownup, September and fall weather = new corduroys and “Back to School”.
    There’s something wonderful about each season, and the wonder and hope of changing seasons… but I would take a pass on any &*^$#@ snow that is over 4″ at a time.

    • Crystal says:

      I heard your first day of spring was mocked by Mother Nature with a dusting of snow! My Facebook friends list was lit up by the event.

  2. kirsten says:

    When I first moved to NZ I didn’t get the whole checking the weather forecast thing, and it boggled my mind that the weather forecast in NZ was actually ACCURATE. It isn’t really that accurate in Singapore, but who cares?

    I dealt with it pretty easy, though. I totally embraced the seasons. And coming back I just went back to how things were… for me the main difference is that I get to dress up a bit more in jackets and pretty cardigans in NZ, and in Singapore I don’t.

    • Crystal says:

      It’s interesting that for such a small country, one end can have raging thunderstorms while the other is totally sunny!

      I’m glad that the consensus is that you adapt pretty quickly. I’m still confounded by the lack of seasons, but now I totally understand why you asked for clarification when I think it was Kierstens referred to Spring or summer…they just have no meaning here. Do you learn the four seasons in primary school like we do back home? How do they teach them without the correlation of snow and all of that?

      • kirsten says:

        I can’t remember exactly, but I think what we learned was just very superficial, from childish cartoon drawings. Or maybe from what we see on TV and in movies. I remember that some of my first knowledge of snow = winter was when I was watching Beauty & The Beast!

        Or we learn about winter from Christmas songs and all that fake snow decorations all over Orchard Road hehehe.

        It was a childhood dream to see snow, and when I was 8 my mum took me to NZ, and we went up to Mt Cook on a helicopter and she chucked me into knee-deep snow. I was delighted. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised that snow can also be a hazard, and a major pain! Otherwise it was always associated with some strange magical time that happened in far-off lands, never here.

        I think even when I was in NZ I never really did get into the habit of measuring time by seasons. I would still refer to the months, instead of saying “in the summer, …”

      • Crystal says:

        That sounds a lot like people from warmer parts of the US’s experiences (the childhood dream to see snow) when they came to Boston for college.

  3. Maria says:

    My first winter back in Canada was the coldest in 15 years. I adapted pretty quickly!

    • Crystal says:

      Oh my. That might be the impetus to send me scurrying back to Singapore!

      I’m kind of frightened of my first winter back. Did you remember how to drive on ice and all that? Was it right there waiting for you to remember how? Or was it a new learning experience all over again? I worry that I won’t remember those things that were secondhand when I lived in the northeast, like tossing an ice scraper in the car in October, just to be ready, and snowmelt (hell, even a small shovel because of getting trapped by passing plows when I taught in Boston/Cambridge). Or is it a you get burned once and it all comes back kind of thing?

      • Maria says:

        The sharp shock of that first winter was a wake-up call (helloooooo! You’re well and truly home now!), but in many ways I think it’s like riding the proverbial bike — you never really forget. Kind of like re-adjusting to driving on the other side of the road — after a day or two of putting my wipers on every time I meant to indicate a left turn, my brain suddenly got on board and everything was fine. (Except, of course, that it was bloody cold.)

      • Crystal says:

        that makes sense 🙂

  4. Laura says:

    I’ve been back in the UK since the end of January, this is the longest I’ve been back since we moved to Singapore. I really struggled with the cold after so long in the heat (other trips have been so brief I’ve just enjoyed the change). I think it will take me a long time to get used to cold again, as much as I like it, when we move elsewhere and they have seasons. I much prefer the weather here in the UK now Spring is coming and things are warming up, but I only have a couple of weeks left before I return so I’d best make the most of it!

    • Crystal says:

      I think the winter will be toughest of all the seasons to re-adapt to, as I never liked it much to begin with. I’m not a skier, and while I love how snow looks, I just don’t like being cold.

      Enjoy the spring, but also hurry back! We can do a blogger meet-up when you return! There’s also a great expat blogger also from Boston, currently in Australia (WTF Mate…she’s in my linkbar–need to add you if I’d forgotten to earlier) who’s moving here at the end of March who you should meet too!

  5. bookjunkie says:

    I am so missing out on seasons. If I could pick one it would be winter. Love that photo of a pink Ellie deep in the snow. and the other one of her happy in the tree…cuteness!!!

    • Crystal says:

      Winter is one of those things that can be very fun from indoors. But once you deal with the less fun aspects, it’s the season I probably miss the least 🙂

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