Ponderings

Tropical Groundhog Day

In Thailand the months slide in effortless fluidity from one to the next; the year seems to lose its footing around May and then it’s December and you’re wondering how you seem to have missed being present when October happened. When living in the land of permanent summer it’s hard to keep track of the year.

November is the time when it gets properly cold in the UK. I remember standing, shivering, my breath mushrooming out into the night air as I watched fireworks explode over Bournemouth Rugby Club at their Bonfire Night display.

Now I’m sat in shorts and a t-shirt hoping for a refreshing and cold beverage to be brought to me by my wife (it’s a hope that has very little chance of being realised but what can I say – I’m a dreamer).

This just doesn't seem right in November.

This just doesn’t seem right in November.

And I know what you’re about to say. It’s going to centre around the idea that you are reading this with rain, or snow, or hail lashing against your windows. That a trip to the shops involves more kit than an Arctic expedition. That you’ve had to thaw the cat out three times this week. That slate grey skies can go to hell; get me to Thailand.

But just consider for a moment what it is to live and function in a place where most days the mercury tops out in the high 30s and the humidity rarely dips below 75%. And you have to wear a tie to work.

I only really notice the changing months in two ways. The first is in relation to how the boy is developing. Look at that, it’s November. He’s six months old. He’s mobile, eating more solids and has two budding teeth. When did that happen?

The other is that when I Skype home my mum seems to become more enveloped in ever thicker layers of clothing. By this point in the year she’s just a face poking out of huge rolls of fabric, voice muffled by a woollen scarf you could tow a battleship with. I shout at her to turn the heating up but she can’t hear me under all the layers. We communicate through a combination of flash cards and emphatic nodding.

The sight of her looking like an alpaca makes me feel somewhat melancholy.

I genuinely miss grabbing cold weather gear and going for a walk in the rain. I miss hot Sunday lunches after running through muddy puddles. The roar of a fire in the local with a pint of the nearest brewery’s finest. The smell of woodsmoke in frigid air.

What I miss most though is knowing where I am in the year. Being attuned to the seasons is a profound thing that I think gives closure to the changing months. Not having that can give the sense of reliving the same day over and over.

A tropical Groundhog Day if you like.

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15 thoughts on “Tropical Groundhog Day

  1. Ha ha! So well said, I live in tropical Australia and live with 2 seasons! 3 if u include build up. I do like visiting family in colder states, but unfortunately it hurts the bones and joints way too much to consider moving back permanently😃

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    • It’s often said that Thailand has three seasons. Hot, f-ing hot and f-ing hot and raining.

      We are heading home for Christmas so will no doubt be frozen to the core dreaming of the tropics again.

      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was born and raised in Hawaii, so Thailand reminds me of home in a lot of ways. But I did live in places with 4 seasons so I can relate to what you are saying. I miss winter clothing and a nice wood fire (nothing like it) and the changing seasons, too. But things are getting “colder” up north, so I know winter’s coming…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well said! TY

    I sometimes feel that the environment we grow up in will dictate what we feel most comfortable in when we are an adult. I spent many years on the Oregon coast (raised in Wyoming and north California). I hated the weather on the coast; rain, more rain and rain with 100 mph gusts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I utterly agree. Being British I like to moan about the weather which was the primary reason for writing this post.

      The thing about British weather (I think Bill Bryson said this) is that there is just so much of it – we can, genuinely have four seasons in a week. When you go from that to solid, inescapable heat, you lose a point of reference which is grounding in terms of where you feel comfortable.

      Cheers for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well said. I am all about balance. Having it switch around so often could get rather confusing.

        You bet 🙂

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  4. Aaah! I always have a knack for winters and still don’t understand the love people harbor fr the scorching summers. (Summers in India are torturous). As for now, yeah we’re heading towards the inception of winters and it is expected to very very cold this year. As daunting as it may sound I can’t wait. 😛

    The snow always reminds me of Game of Thrones. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It just feels like Christmas should when it’s getting cold. We stayed in Thailand last year and whilst it was lovely, it wasn’t really Christmas-y.

      Funny that GOT has made a few appearances on this post. All together now: ‘de dum, de la de dum, de la de dum, de la de dum’.

      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Whatup my favorite follower !!

    Funny and awesome article. Although it’s not “cold” here in Utopia Land it is supposed to be rainy and cool. Since mankind has sadly changed the climate forever I’m guessing today clocked in at the same temperature as Thailand minus the humidity (about 27 Celsius). We’ve had about 10 days of rain in 300 days this year and there’s nothing but high pressure stalled over the Pacific.

    But alas, I miss the cold sometimes also and to remember why we left Canada, Diane and I are embarking on one last trip to Calgary and Edmonton for the holidays next month. Last time we did that it was -28 for five days straight. Since I ahve no job anymore I can finally stay two whole weeks which means by the time January gets here I will be dying for that plane trip to the tropics

    And who knows? If you read my last post you know we may be joining you in Thailand if Malaysia doesn’t get their act together with the income verification stuff.

    Happy Rememberance day (Tuesday – do Brits do that? Yanks call it Veterans Day)

    Rob and Diane

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    • I did see yes – I’ll reply to your question over on your blog in a sec.

      We do have Remembrance Sunday today (although the 11th is, as you say, Remembrance Day proper).

      I think the coldest I’ve been outdoors in was -22C and that was on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was there for an hour or so. Five days at -28 seems somewhat excessive 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m in the same boat as you. It is perpetual summer here in Venezuela too. My family and I Facetimed today and they were all bundled up in sweaters while I was ready to change into a tank top because I was getting a little too warm in my kitchen. I just try to remember that I can always go to a nearby tropical beach if I need to cool off a little!

    -Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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