I wrote this essay while living overseas and never published it. I guess the Star Wars movie are making me a little home-away-from-homesick.
A lot of people have expressed jealousy over the weather I “enjoy” here in the desert. Don’t get me wrong, the lack of snow shoveling makes everything worth it, but sometimes…sometimes.
Hot. Astonishingly hot. The kind of hot that has you debating if you really want to go to the mall because you’re going to have to walk from the car to the mall over asphalt. You debate malls because of parking situations and consider where you can park that will be close. At Bawadi the parking spaces are covered, but Al Ain Mall has underground parking and now that they doubled the size of that mall it’s a hands down winner. Al Jimi Mall, with crappy parking, few decent stores and no real draw in the food area except for Chili’s, pretty much loses between March and December. You’d think that after a while you’d learn to live with the heat. You don’t. On the upside, Ramadan has been falling in the summer and since the Muslims can’t eat during the day, most everything is closed down all day and open until two in the morning.
You’d think it would cool off and it does, relatively. Normally you’d get the start of “rainy” season. I put rainy in quotes because in addition to living with standard Midwestern American rainstorms, I also spent some time in Korea where rainy season is a solid month of rain. I rotted through a pair of shoes my first year in Korea because they never got to dry. The second year I bought a pair of Crocs specifically for walking to and from school. Rain here means it might sprinkle for half an hour and half of that dries before it hits the ground. This doesn’t stop rain starved Westerners from standing outside, faces upturned, until it stops. This year we had one or two sprinkles that lasted less than ten minutes. I miss rain.
You’re going to laugh, but this is when it gets cold. I mean it. Cold. Honestly, the temps only drop to 70’s during the day and 50’s at night, but not only are all the buildings here cement, meaning they hold cold, this is where that adapting to the heat kicks you in the butt. I found myself having conversations about how cold it was when it was 80 degrees.
Sometime in March it switches from cold to hot. This transition takes about two weeks. Spring also brings dust storms. Because we didn’t have much in the way of rain we got monster dust storms this year. For days on end the horizon was hazy. The windows and doors of my apartment aren’t sealed fabulously so the dust blows in even when everything is closed up. Another draw back to the lack of rain and the dust storms is that everything is covered with a sheen of tan dust sucking all the color out of the world.
So while the warmth is nice and I do appreciate it, there are days when I’m looking out at a dust, hazy horizon wishing for green. Just a little green.