Personal, Switzerland

Heat Waves

Well, it has finally arrived. The heat is ON. And it feels good.

Memories from summers past come rushing back to me as the cool morning breeze ruffles my skirt against my knees on my walk to work. I recall mornings waiting for the bus in Bangkok or walking out to our car – ‘Sunshine’ – on Saipan. There is a very brief moment of crispness in the tropics and mostly it involves the memory of air-conditioning when stepping into the thick, heavy, wetness of the tropical air. But in the “winter” months, it is cooler in the mornings and one can imagine that it will last throughout the day. One can imagine.

I can ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over the Autumn colours or the Spring buds, but there is nothing quite like Summer that brings a smile of contentment to my face. Even when sweat drips in the most uncomfortable, hidden places. I love it. I love the heat. And I love all the memories associated with it, all the way back to the days of middle school when I waited in line for school to start in my cool, new summer clothes. The temperature didn’t get hot until lunch time, after the sun had risen high into the sky. Then the evenings brought campfires and sweatshirts with fireflies dancing around the midnight trees. That was later in life. The college years, with treks and gatherings at the dunes. Oh, ode to Michigan summers.

They seem quite similar to Swiss summers, at least so far. One of my students tried to argue with me that it wasn’t summer yet. He’s right. Technically, it begins next week. But the temperature? It’s all summer. Thirty-two degrees celsius, that’s about eighty-six degrees in fahrenheit. The sun shines high. The heat traps into the third floor classroom of the old victorian building that I spend most of my day in. The temperature up there has been compared to the tropics by a teacher who had my classroom in previous years. One difference, in the tropics, we have something called air-conditioning. Here? Oh, there are windows that you can’t really open because you are on the third floor and there are no screens. Needless to say, my energy levels have been very low. But I still love the heat. Perhaps, just not to work in it.

I recall the day the electricity went out in Bangkok. Our students were lying on the cold, tiled floor. Doing nothing much but trying to conserve energy and create as little body heat as possible so as not to melt into the floor. It was even difficult to breath and we tried not to have too much fun, for laughter caused pockets of warm air to rise from our chests and burst into the air. It was a day we would never forget. But, of course, we survived. It may have only lasted an hour but seems like days. The power did come back on. We didn’t have to evacuate the building due to overheating, although there had been discussion of going home early. Instead, the electricity resumed and we blasted that air-con as high as it would go.

It’s no wonder I have many memories associated with summertime temperatures. I lived in tropical weather for four years and then some with all that travelling in SEAsia. Switzerland weather is similar to Michigan except for the fact that the winters are greyer with less snow (I do NOT live in the mountains). I still cringe when I see pictures of the students in the hallway with their winter gear on while they played outside at recess. How did I ever survive?

Well, survive, I did and a week from Sunday, I will be moving to London with Ali for good. We will be living in our first new apartment together in London. All by ourselves. But until then, I am still counting the hours (only 49 until Monday) when he will arrive (after school on Monday). It’s been a few weeks, but this time, we leave together. So, packing up and moving on out is a welcome change. Very welcome indeed. But busy none the less.

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