Today it is just a little bit breezy in Atenas and I have to say I’m enjoying it. While we were in Alajuela, there was never a breeze to speak of. The only time I really ever saw the trees move was when the earthquake happened. We’ve been told by several people that Atenas, Costa Rica has the most pleasant climate in all the world and so far I have to say that has been true. Though it does get cool (not cold) at night and the humidity can make things a little uncomfortable to me, an American Midwesterner where the air is always extremely dry, I could live with the weather here for a long time.
But weather is only one reason to travel to a place. Indeed, there is really only one time of the year when weather would singularly motivate me to get on an airplane and go abroad: winter. It’s true that the drought in the United States this year made the entire state of Nebraska rather inhospitable. Usually I really enjoy summer and early fall. But I never enjoy winter in western Nebraska.
Winter in western Nebraska changes people. It makes them mean. Instead of huddling up together they become very stand off-ish. It could be a time of fun parties and hot cocoa, but it’s not. People hole up inside their houses and try to avoid each other until their existential depression lifts (never realizing that a little bit of socialization can help get rid of the blues).
There are few places in the world that are less hospitable than Nebraska in the wintertime so when we travel that time of the year, I don’t feel as though I’m missing anything positive or enjoyable. But right now, as summer draws to a close, I know that I’m missing things like the shadows shifting as the earth moves toward its winter position. I know that there are some warm and cool days that are very pleasant and tolerable back home. The leaves have probably not started to turn colors yet, but the locusts are chirping almost constantly and will continue to do so until the first freeze.
The lack of season change here is a little bit unnerving. Normally, I think that I pace myself by the seasons. I know that there is a time each year when things stop and start and I count on those times to regroup and rest. Here, the weather is the same almost every day. It’s pleasant and nearly perfect but without the element of constant change that’s going on in the higher latitudes. I’m sure that I would get used to the differences over time, but today I miss the changes taking place at home. I think a part of me would always miss them no matter how long I was away.
I find seasonality quite disturbing, because there are always things you can and can’t do, things that are open and things that you need to forget about until after memorial day. it’s hard to remember all of the deadlines that seasonality imposes on you, whether you’re planting stuff, going camping, skiing or cooking out. when i first came to the US, i thought it was perfectly normal to do things at what i now know to be odd times. people would stare. but i was so used to the outside temperature being somewhat constant (or at least within much smaller ranges). I also found the dryness really hard to tolerate – i call it electric shock season. when i first came here, i was asking people if there was some way to ground yourself to stop yourself from getting electric shocks all the time. like if there was a grounding wire i could wear. now i just know not to touch car door handles in certain places. right now i am thinking i need to put up fall decorations (what little i have) and winterize everything. the first year i was here, the pipe on my house and the sprinkler pipes burst, because i didn’t know a thing about freezing pipes. i try to explain this to family/friends who want to visit – that there’s a window when it’s good and then the rest of the time, when it’s a bad idea, but they don’t understand – it’s not really something that is possible to explain. like christmas on the beach in 105 degrees, it needs experiencing.September 29, 2012
Being here in Costa Rica while the seasons are changing back home has made me think a lot more about the seasons and how much I time my life by seasons. It’s so interesting that there are places that don’t have distinct seasonal changes. There was a Dora the Explorer show on about seasons while we were in Alajuela with snow and pumpkins and the beach and spring flowers. It struck me as odd because it’s 80 degrees every day here, but it’s technically “winter”. How could that show make ANY sense at all to a kid here in Costa Rica. Anyway… I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the seasons as “deadlines”, but I can understand that idea better after being here for two months because I feel really disoriented about what time of year it is. I find myself wondering what I should be getting done because normally…the temperature fluctuation cues me to know what to do next. It’s no wonder people here are more relaxed about getting stuff done. It’s not like it’s gonna get cold and the pipes are going to freeze.
I’ve never consciously thought about electric shocks and their association with the seasons. How weird. I remember being a bit awed by electric shocks as a kid and playing with them in my sheets at night thinking the green static electricity was “cool”, but I’m so used to the dryness, I only notice it when it’s really extreme now. I can appreciate how difficult it would be to adapt to the little things like this, especially when everyone around you thinks electric shocks are SO normal that they almost don’t even know what you’re talking about. For example, I’m grossed out by the gray water that flows along every street here in Costa Rica, but I’m sure everyone here would think I was crazy for even noticing it. I also miss sidewalks and have a hard time trusting that the cars passing me on the street aren’t going to rip my arm off. And cockroaches probably aren’t such a big deal when you contend with them all the time. (I don’t know because I’ve hardly even seen cockroaches in Nebraska).
Thanks for reading…and commenting, Kazi. Where’s your travel blog, by the way from your recent adventure? Actually…where’s your LIFE blog? (I would totally follow it)September 30, 2012
Umm….I think my blog would sound like one of those whiny people from LaFortuna, probably not what people want to read., but thanks 🙂October 7, 2012