Seasons

When I was a kid we had monthly calendars where the name of the month was surrounded by flowers in the summer, yellow leaves in the autumn (or rain), snow in the winter, etc. Every month has a clear association with it. Old viking names for the months were related to harvest in the late summer, then butchering in the autumn, the Yule feast, then the marrow sucker where you didn’t have much to eat, etc. So the seasons are associated with food and weather, and of course light or darkness.

Living in Thailand, I feel weird. All the time, I find myself humming Christmas tunes, because my mind keeps waiting for that season to arrive and it should have been here 2 years ago. Every day is the same. Thai tradition say that they have three seasons: winter (or dry season), summer (season of fruits), and rainy season (autumn). To be honest, I never saw any difference. Every day is fucking hot. Every day has a bit of rain, except for a few weeks around spring months. Floods from excessive raining can happy any time anywhere. The sun rises the same time of day every day, and sets the same time of day every day. The food is the same every day all year round. Pad thai, pad siew yew, kao pad gai, kao pad goong… Always the same selection at the restaurants, and the stores don’t really sell food for cooking because very few people cook at home. I tried growing some vegetables and spices on our balcony; they all die from the sweltering heat.

All my life I thought that the cold is so annoying, and I was dreaming about living in a warm climate. But with the cold, you can put on clothes and you are fine. With the heat in Thailand, you just never stop sweating. We are running the air condition on max cold, and I am still sweating. Walk outside, the shirt is drenched in sweat in a few minutes. There is no point in taking a shower, because when you come out of the shower you just keep getting wet from all the sweat. There is no escaping the heat. Cold is easy to avoid. Just stay inside where it is warm or put on clothes when you go outside. Easy peasy.

All my life I thought that the darkness of the winter is so annoying, and I have been using special lights to simulate the sun. First few weeks in Thailand, I was amazed at how well my biorythm worked with the constant sunlight hours. But after a year or so, my daily pattern is the same here as back home. I am equally tired when I get up in the morning, if not more because the heat makes you tired too. Despite years of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with the winter darkness giving me depression, I miss the changing of the seasons. Winter depression is bad, but the extra boost of energy you get in the summer light compensates for it. With no seasons, there is just the same routine every day, time disappears and I feel like I never accomplish anything. Nothing in my life is moving forward, but time is flying without me hardly noticing.

There are many things that I used to think of as negative with living in Sweden. Cold, darkness, distanced people, incompetent politicians and leaders… But in light of living in Thailand, Sweden looks like paradise to me.