After a long weekend in Dubai, I’m fully recharged and my spirits lifted. There is nothing like a change of scenery to put things in perspective and after a week of being full of a desert cold, feeling very sorry for myself, the stark contrast of a weekend in Dubai helped a lot. Whilst I was more than happy to come back to the sandpit and normality, I find myself not as settled as usual. For the first time in a long time, I feel that I am on December escape countdown. Am I getting sentimental in my old age or are even the most seasoned Kuwait expats missing the seasons?
I never thought I was a person that was that bothered by the change of seasons. I love the heat and was certainly not someone that liked the cold. 4 years in Prague with 4 very distinct and beautiful changes in season, changed me. My body certainly acclimatised to the extreme winters and loved the idea of being back in my heavy sweaters, proper winter boots (not what the high street tell you are winter boots, but those that you can trudge through the snow in) and layering up just to nip to the shops. The idea of spending the year in 9 months of sunshine and warmth was an exciting proposition and one that we both were both ready for.
As you know, the extreme heat here is something that some never get used to. It reaches the heights that most people can not even fathom. Getting people to even start to comprehend 50+ degrees, was like getting them to understand -25. Complete opposite ends of the scale and as aspect of my expat life that no one can grasp, without experience. So as my blood thins, my body is completely used to the heat here now, that I have even heard myself say on people’s return from summer break
August wasn’t even that hot, it was only about 47!
How did I become that acclimatised? The up side to this adjustment, is that I can now cope, it’s no longer an issue, I barely even think about the temperatures, its just damn hot almost every day! None of that opening your curtains wondering what the day will bring, its going to be warm, hot or boiling. The downside of that is of course no real seasons and whilst that never truly bothered me past year one, this year I am feeling it more than most. Can the taste for this life change purely because its under seasoned and the sun is over done?
This year the weather has not turned. Usually the end of August brings a couple of weeks of humidity as the temperatures try to drop. We had that and yet the thermometer barely moved. Then here we are in the middle of October and stuck in another bought of humidity. Kuwait is super dry (and thats not just the wine glasses) the heat is intense, but what makes it doable is the dryness. We are simply not used to the humidity of the more southern gulf states and when it hits we are useless. Usually by this time of year, we are enjoying low 30’s and early morning runs outside and evenings of al fresco dinners back on the agenda. As of yet, none of this has happened.
The shops are filled with winter styles, tables of sweaters pilled high and even with two attempts, I can not bring myself to even think about it. Of course I will probably only need a sweater here through January but my December travels will most certainly need to be aided by some substantial layering. The usual UK layers are no longer good enough, as I have adjusted to the desert over 5 years, that I am inevitably freezing every time I go home and can’t deal with anything under 15 degrees! What has happened to me? The Czech me would be ashamed and the Jersey me is just laughing at my crappy ability to cope.
Of course, whilst I am hoping for the temperate to drop to get some outside activities back in the routine, the biggest factor is that special time of year, just around the corner. The one I am obsessed with, the one I have been told by my desert girls I am not allowed to mention before Halloween! You know the one, the all glittery one, filled with joy to the world and my annual trip to the mother land of the C word, NYC. I am more excited this time than last year, which my friends and husband will vouch for seems almost impossible. I just feel like I am even more desperate to be immersed in the festivities, the cold, the smells, the endless amounts of food we will be consuming after my instagram feed is filled with new city finds. I’m in that head space way earlier and I am craving it more than usual.
That’s not to say I am unhappy here. I am not sad or emotional about being here or the weather not changing as I would like, I just think, that being here makes you more sentimental for the things you miss. They aren’t deal breakers, they aren’t moments of existential crisis for rolling green hills and winter walks along St Ouens. You just miss what you can’t have and I am an especially soppy this time of year and like things just right. So my coping mechanisms are as follows……
We will curl up on a Sunday night (as will be on catch up, due to looming extra hour time difference) watching Strictly, xFactor and I’m a Celeb, pretending its a cold October night and like the rest of the UK will be on countdown. I will attempt to build my winter wardrobe to be New York ready and get our itinerary planned to an inch of its life. I will start the shopping, for the season we aren’t allowed to mention and then in November I will get my tree up, start movies, bakes and my Bath and Bodyworks scented candle haul and drive everyone mad until I leave! I apologise now to everyone who will be around me, but without the seasons to benchmark, I have to create my own agenda. Its the only way I will get through the next 9 weeks in once piece and not let the countdown become detrimental to my life here. If I don’t, there is a danger that I will start to struggle and thats not good for me or my mental elf.