Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thailand, Season 2

It was only very recently -- like, within the last week or so -- that my brain fully registered that there are only about two months left of the calendar year and that winter is just around the corner in the U.S. The perpetual summer season here has really screwed up my sense of time. I am fully aware of what month we're in, of course, but the environment has tricked my body into thinking that time is at a standstill and that it is still summer everywhere. It actually takes conscious effort for me to grasp that others are experiencing fall and cooler temperatures.

When we arrived in Bangkok, it was still the middle of summer in the U.S., with a raging heat wave going on. And for the months thereafter, that type of weather has continued for us. The only difference between the summer weather in the U.S. and here was the rain; the rainy season started only days after our arrival. There would be a downpour (one to three inches of rain) almost every afternoon or evening for about 30 to 60 minutes. In September, the rainy season really got underway; it would rain every day. In October, it would sometimes rain for days at a time. Between the heat, the humidity, and the rain, we got used to being wet all the time, from either sweat or rainwater.
Orchids are in full bloom in our yard.
November usually begins the "cool" season in Bangkok. Since returning from our vacation in Koh Chang, we have experienced "cooler" temperatures in the 80s and very low humidity (though we had a "heat wave" for a couple of days last week, with temperatures in the 90s and low-100s and high humidity). It's now sunny, dry, warm, and breezy. It is really pretty perfect, in my opinion.

But the Thai kids at school are bundling up, with long pants and sweaters. Our doctor told us to get flu shots to prepare for the upcoming winter season and "cold" weather (with an average of 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit). I actually saw a woman in a down parka the other day! The trees in our yard are actually shedding their leaves, but the leaves on the trees are as green as ever and flowers continue to bloom. It's the Thai version of fall.
Has fall arrived in Thailand?
Even with this pleasant weather, however, I still miss the cold temperatures back home. Well, at least the idea of cold temperatures. I sigh with envy when I see pictures of snow from friends back in the U.S. I certainly don't miss having to bundle up in layers just to leave the house, bu I do miss seeing the seasons change and having fun with all the activities and events that mark these changes.

To mark seasonal changes now, we have to artificially re-create the ambiance and events surrounding the different seasons. It will certainly be interesting to see what it will be like come the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas, two major holidays in the U.S. I already miss with all my heart all the festivities and events that come with this time of the year, and everything will look and feel so different this year. Even so, while part of me wishes we could carry on with our usual holiday traditions, another part of me also is anticipating this holiday season with curiosity and wonder. It will be my first time celebrating traditionally American holidays in Asia and in a tropical region, and there's a part of me that can't wait to see what these celebrations (if any) will look like.
One of our trees abloom with flowers.

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