Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Changing Seasons, Sandbox Style

One of the things I miss most about home (aside from the people of course) is the changing seasons. My favorite is fall when the air gets cooler, the leaves turn color, apples are in season and the holidays start. Then of course there's the first snowfall of winter and those cozy wintery weekend days where you don't even feel guilty if you spend the whole day reading a book with a kitty on your lap. Well, I also like Spring quite a bit as the world starts to green up, everything smelling so fresh and clean, and the flowers ... Hmmm, I can't forget summer either with perfect days and a perfect rainstorm or two to mix things up a bit. So yeah, the changing seasons is something I miss living here in the sand box.

But don't misunderstand, there are seasons here in the land of sand dunes and camels, they're just a bit more subtle. Here's an overview of the changing seasons, sandbox style.

Fall (September - November) while not my favorite season in Abu Dhabi, it's similar to home in that the air gets cooler ... meaning the temp goes from 115 to 85 over the course of season. The humidity drops a bit as well, which is such a welcome change that we start sitting outside in weather that would have us running to the air conditioned house back home. The best part is the overheated crankiness starts to abate as you realize relief is on the horizon and soon it will be winter. (I know, such a weird thing to think coming from Wisconsin where winter is considered a swear word to some.)
One of the many Plumeria trees that start to flower during the fall
Winter (December - March) is my new favorite season. The temperatures range between 60 to about 85 and it can get chilly enough to need a sweater. The humidity drops significantly and the wind picks up. This is the season of sandstorms, but they don't happen frequently enough to cause too much frustration. We now start living outside, which is such a welcome change from the blistering summer. The best part is the flowers. The city is transformed and annuals are planted everywhere making the place look cheery and clean. Winter is nice.
Would you believe I can't find a photo of the flowers?

Spring (April-May) is pretty short and perhaps I should include March here to even things out a bit, I don't know. The temps creep up until one day you realize it's 100 degrees and you're sweating through your business suit. The good news is the flowers and plants are out of control and look stunning, and on a good day, things will cool off enough for you to spend the evening outside to desperately hold onto the wonderful winter feeling. But, the real issue with Spring is that it reminds you that summer is coming.
Spring in the dessert (looks just like Summer, Winter and Fall)
Summer (June-August) is just plain miserable. I really can't think of one redeeming, positive thing to say about it. The high is consistently 105 or higher and the humidity can hit 80% on a bad day (so don't even try to make me feel better by saying it's a 'dry heat', it isn't). It's a bit surreal to hear people complain about the summer after growing up in an area where everyone looks forward to summer. Our first (and only so far) summer was an adventure and something to be irrationally proud of, "I survived an Abu Dhabi summer" kind of stuff. But this year I'm just dreading it. The novelty of your skin 'fogging up' when you step outside is gone and now I'm plotting ways to leave the country during the summer months, or maybe spend them immersed in the chilled pool.
The only comfortable place during the summer months!
So, I guess it's not so much that I miss having seasons, because we have seasons all right. I guess it's the variety that I miss, and the green, and the rainstorms, and the snow ... but maybe I'm just wistful  because today's temp will reach 102 and it'll only go up from there. :)

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