Sunday, September 6, 2009


Tomorrow is Labor Day here in the U.S. and the long holiday weekend is done.  Most people get quite sentimental about this because other than just signaling the transition from summer to the fall season, it translates to interesting (translate: potentially drastic) lifestyle changes.  It took me quite some time to understand the extent of this. 

Coming from a country with only two not-so-distinct seasons, the idea of seriously planning your life around the seasons/ climate/ weather was foreign to me.  In the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila where I grew up, there are only the wet and dry seasons.  The rains normally come around June and lasts until approximately September.  October and the rest of the months before June are considered the dry months for the most part.  Other than the need to anticipate rains and some flooding, the temperatures don’t vary all that much from day to day or season to season.  As such, I never really felt the need to plan my life, from the major activities to the mundane, around the seasons.  

When I was a kid in school, it was all about looking forward to the start of summer vacation come March/April, and then feeling sad about the end of that ‘season’ come June.  At the same time, June spelled out the initial excitement about going back to school and meeting friends, as well as celebrating the arrival of rains or storms which spelled out school closings or holidays!  Other than these highs and lows in my juvenile life, everything else seemed pretty constant.  The style of my clothes was pretty much the same the whole year round.  Leisure activities were also more or less predictable and not too seasonal.  You can just imagine the adjustment I had to go through during my first year here in the Midwest, particularly where I am where you can sometimes experience all four seasons in a single day! 

I’ve had to get used to more planning when it came to leisure activities or vacation plans.  For the longest time, my husband would keep telling me that vacations here need to be planned a year ahead and that people here take those vacations seriously, especially if it’s during the summer.  And speaking of summer, I never understood the elation that Americans feel when the sun starts shining and days get warm.  I couldn’t help but feel a bit perplexed every time I heard someone getting excited over the thought of barbecue, picnics or the beach.  I’ve always had to remind myself that where I am now, you only really see the sun and feel its heat for only half of the year….if you’re lucky.  (No wonder anti-depressants are so popular here, but let’s save that for another blog, shall we?).  On the reverse, I also remind my American friends and family that since I’m from a tropical country, it’s the cold that has novelty for me.  I always get excited and genuinely look forward to fall and winter!  I love how it gets cooler and absolutely adore the changing colors of leaves and the sight of the first snow fall of the year.   
I think a list is now in order.  Let me just share the few things I will miss, as well as the things I can’t wait to leave behind as we say goodbye to summer and greet fall with open arms:
I will miss ---
*driving on dry roads and not fearing skidding
*late sunsets that let you stay out longer
*my sandals and skorts
*seeing my son Noah in shorts and sleeveless shirts that make his thighs and arms absolutely irresistible to me
*boating and feeling the cool, comfortable breeze on my face
*sweet bi-colored corn and smoky ribs for dinner
*transporting Noah from the car to his stroller and through a parking lot without rushing and freezing to death
 *seeing the wonderful colors of flowers, especially of tulips, along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago

I can’t wait to ---
*enjoy late sunrises and have that ‘extra’ hour as we adjust our clocks in November to mark the end of daylight saving time
*be inspired by the poetry of the reds, purples, browns, oranges and all the wondrous colors of the fall foliage
*be all covered up again in sweaters, fashionable jackets, cardigans and coats….My body has neither preferred, nor attempted to wear, tank tops or any sleeveless shirts, in public.
*not see ants, flies and bugs that bite when I’m outdoors
*forget about pedicure and just have my feet celebrate comfortably in my boots
*welcome the new season of all my favorite t.v. shows back in my living room:  CSI Las Vegas, Medium, Lost, How I Met Your Mother and other new interesting shows the networks are launching
*see Noah wear a bonnet that emphasizes his chubby cheeks
* play in the snow with my family

There are a lot of things to hate about the colder seasons but to an almost 36-year old person who spent 30 ½ years of her life in the tropics, you can say that I am just a kid looking at the same old Midwestern things but with fresh new eyes.  How exciting!


  1. i can very well relate to this joy! at least, you get to enjoy the snow. here in bremen, it's mainly cold wind na nanunuot sa buto!


  2. That's how I thought when I was a freshie to this kind of weather.Eventhough I've been here for more than 4 years now, I still love the tropical temp- no thick cloths, boots and snows. Tropical island brings more summery actvities through out the year, where you can enjoy your flip flops and sleeveless.

    Ya, I miss where I came from (P.I.)eventhough I enjoy the shifting seasons here in US(where there's something to anticipate, celebrate and plan).-Jhing


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