End of May and early June was graduation season in America, and my social feeds were flooded with congratulatory messages, virtual high fives, proud photos, and gleeful rushes into summer holidays. Here, it’s just the end of second quarter. Students are exhausted from exams, and they’re gratefully but wearily trudging into a couple weeks’ break to recover. There’s no hoopla whatsoever, and being so far away from what I know is a hugely celebratory time for family and friends in the States is weird, like I’m watching through a one-way mirror.
Of course, this is related to the seasons being the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere.
A few days ago, while on my lunch break, I wandered down to a nearby shopping district and was greeted by at least 40 Christmas trees lined up in festive, bright red pots. It stopped me dead in my tracks because the cold winter air + the red/green color combo + the smell of pine trees was perfect. You don’t notice how much you’ve been constantly trying to figure out what’s going on around you until you’re presented with something intimately, completely familiar and it just. makes. effortless. sense. I actually exhaled with something approaching relief, like I’d been holding my breath without realising it.
Apparently, through the end of this week it’s Christmas in July at the Pitt Street Mall, with cookie decorating workshops, free coffees, spiced teas, a popcorn stand, and other festivities. Yay! …and then I remembered that it was July and it all seemed kind of bizarre and I felt like I was living in an alternate universe again.
Also, a lot of my email subscriptions and social feeds are from American companies. Can you imagine how disorienting it is to be looking at breezy sundresses and pretty sandals when it’s in the low 40s* F and I’m wishing that it was acceptable to wear a down onesie in public? (I’m only partially kidding. My delicate Californian limits of toleration are being stretched to the max.)
Anyway, it’s funny straddling two worlds. Twice as much to keep track of, but…twice the fun?