When every marker of a calendar flip is different, what results is a feeling that instead of entering the kick-off to the Christmas season, November slips in, more like an extended August or September. In Indonesia the steamy temperatures and mosquitos persist, which results in tank tops and flip-flops staying up past their usual bedtimes.
This weekend the time changed in North America–for my state anyway, Michigan. Daylight Saving left on time. Its departure always marked the feeling that things were getting serious. The spreading darkness, the cozier nights, the thermostat kicking in just as your alarm goes off in the morning. Time to hit the mall for real Christmas gifts–not just the ones you thought you’d pick up throughout the year. The cycle was clear.
Here, near the equator, the sameness is a little hypnotizing–like time passing without notice. The sun rises and falls at about the same time. The vegetation still looks like spring or summer–mostly summer. Yes, people are noticing the rainy season–but even that seems like a slight return to normal. The pounding rain usually is drowned out by the low hum of air conditioning so unless the taxis are all booked when you need to go out, it’s not that noticeable. Gray skies and predictable rain are a return to the familiar.
Listening to Michigan Radio on an app on my phone every morning and evening as usual I hear temperatures like 20s or 30s (not Celsius but Fahrenheit) and it feels like an anchor to reality. To where things make sense. Where normal still exists.
Yet, not having to lotion up because the humidity keeps you hydrated. No flu shots. Without a car, not scraping the windshield in the school parking lot after a long day of work. Counting the blessings does not equal loss.
I’m going home for Christmas. To snow. To temperatures that my mom worries will affect what she considers my new “thinner blood.” I wonder if I will long for the impossible pink blossoms and the ability to hop on a motorbike any day of the week with no reasonable worries of getting frostbitten.
I’m thankful for the time change. Indonesia is staying put–still waiting to hear if we move to Singapore time. But for now, I have an extra hour when I call my family and friends on the weekend to talk before they go to bed.