Life & Everything

In search of greener grass

May 7, 2013 | No comments


No matter how many times I move, I never seem to find the perfect patch of grass.

Where I grew up in Sweden it is cold most of the time. During the few summer weeks when the sun shines all day, no dark clouds are within sight, and the temperatures finally reach the high seventies, everyone goes a bit crazy with a need for picnics, barbeques, sailing in the archipelago, and congregating along the few decent beaches we have.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the same way (and I absolutely love picnics and barbeques and sailing and the archipelago and spending the day at the beach reading a good book). I love Swedish summer. I just wish there was more of it. It arrives and you feel happy and alive and then, just as you are starting to like life again, it disappears.

The rest of the year is, well, lets just say that it is mostly rain and cold and grey everywhere. I think it says a lot for someone who thinks grey and black are the best colours to feel that this is a problem.

In recent years, blame it on global warming or whatever, it has even gotten worse. The autumn (which I adore with all the beautiful colours and temperatures that are low enough that you can wear your comfy sweaters and scarfs but high enough that you don’t worry about loosing your extremities if venturing outside the comfort of your home) is almost nonexistent. The same with the spring (which I adore just as much as the autumn). It is like nature forgot about those two seasons. We go from happy summer to sad winter. Snow in September. Snow in April and May.

I would probably not be so unhappy if it was cold enough that the snow actually stayed and everything remained pristine white, but it never is. The temperatures fluctuates like crazy and as a consequence, everything just turn into slush, and yes you guessed correctly – grey.

As any reasonable person would do, I moved to somewhere where there is no snow, no cold temperatures, and most importantly, not grey all the time. Hawaii seemed like the perfect place (and they did have a university where I could get the degree I wanted).

I really shouldn’t complain about living in Hawaii. There is definitely worse places to spend your time. BUT, the thing they don’t tell you is that Hawaii isn’t paradise all the time. It isn’t all blue skies, summer and drinks on the beach.

For someone that was bred for the Scandinavian climate, Hawaii often gets too hot. It’s not just the high temperatures, it’s the humidity. And when the trade winds don’t cooperate, it’s just plain hell. Also, it rains. A lot.

Most of the time, it’s kind of nice. It drizzles and you barely have to bother to use an umbrella because you’ll be dry again in a few minutes. There is also the monsoon season, or autumn and winter as most people would call it, where you get a completely different type (and amount) of rain.

My first year in Hawaii we had rain (and not just sprinkles, I’m talking about the constant downpour where you’re seriously wondering if it will ever stop) for more than 40 days and 40 nights in a row. The streets flood, everything is wet and no matter what you do, you can’t get completely dry. Some of my clothes molded, let’s just leave it at that.

I never thought it would happen, but moving to Hawaii made me appreciate Sweden. I missed the seasons. You tend to lose track of time when the weather is the same all the time. It is summer and then, without warning, it is December and Christmas is around the corner. It messes with your inner clock. At least with mine.

After several years in Hawaii, I was ready to move home again.

Of course, after graduating and moving back to Sweden (in February, of all months to return from perpetual summer I picked the middle of the worst winters anyone could remember!), I soon came to the conclusion that Hawaii wasn’t so bad after all.

So I moved again. Southern England was a small improvement after 6 months in Sweden. I was warned about the lack of proper summer and the frequent rain, but I figured that it couldn’t be that bad. And it wasn’t. I loved it. Summer was pleasant, and it was hilarious to see all the English flock to the streets with their folding chairs anytime the sun would come out. You really got a feeling that everybody appreciated a little sunshine and didn’t take it for granted. And the winter wasn’t so bad either, especially not compared to what I was used to.

My best memory of English winter? The university once sent out an email to all students, informing them about the risks of going outside because of the snow, and urging people to stay home that day if they could. The amount of snow? A cm or so. I laughed. At home, you would barely notice a cm. I’ve waded through a meter of snow more times than I can remember.

The only thing I didn’t like about England was how damp and cold it got inside. I often felt more chilly inside than outside. I constantly felt like I couldn’t get warm enough. There is a Swedish proverb that says “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”, but it is a lot easier to dress for cold weather outside. Wearing your parka inside? Maybe not.

As any resourceful person would have done, I solved this problem by buying numerous hot water bottles and blankets, consuming huge amounts of tea, and frequently using my oven (even if there was no food to put in there). It worked. It never got bad enough that I felt the urge to move again.

I stayed in England longer than I had originally planned, but eventually it was time to ship my belongings somewhere else.

I moved back to Hawaii. I had been away long enough to only remember the good things about living here. And to be fair, there were other, non-weather related things, that also factored into this move.

I’ve been back for almost two years. I still miss the seasons. I still get island fever when I don’t take short trips somewhere else often enough. The rest of the time, I’m pretty happy where I am. At the moment, I’m not itching to move somewhere else, but I’m really looking forward to spending a week of vacation in Sweden this summer. I just hope that week will be perfect summer.

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Sorry about this weather related rant. I just needed to vent a little. Now I’m gonna go outside where it is about 82 degrees and try not to wish it was just a little bit colder.