Every June as winter settles in and it starts to feel crisp and cold, I get a Christmassy feeling. Even after years of Christmases in the southern hemisphere, I still associate Christmas with cold weather. I feel ready to cook decedent foods and exchange presents. In December when we’re super sweaty and hot, I struggle to drum up the Christmas spirit in the same way. The decorations get hung but they look false and out of place. Santa looks hot and uncomfortable in his coat and boots. The advent calendars drip melting chocolate out of their sealed doors.
It is June and I have started singing Christmas carols again. We are wearing long trousers, coats, and jumpers again. I even cracked out the gloves. We have become so acclimatized to the heat that the roughly 13 degree C temperatures at night to 23 degree C day temperatures feel jarringly low. We are very happy though that we are in a proper house with walls and not freezing in a tent on a mountain.
We’ve been in Hoedspruit for almost a year now and the signs in nature remind me that the time has passed and it’s winter again.
It’s been a pretty amazing year and having a small child helps me to appreciate how far we’ve all come. Noggs learned to walk, talk, started preschool, and became a more proper human. I passed my PhD. Sam got a postdoc position. It may not be Christmas now but I’m going to sing anyways. This year I keep singing the John Lennon song ‘Merry Xmas (War is Over)’. I wonder if this has some link to the end of the PhD…