We are in the throes of a very strange Abu Dhabi winter here in the desert. Temperatures have barely climbed out of the 60’s, dipping down into the 50’s at night, with clouds building across the sky. CLOUDS! It’s insanity. And it makes me so happy.
Everyone here is terribly disappointed, because the Abu Dhabi winters are what make up for the hellacious summers. The winters are mild, spring-like, and sunny. As a dyed-in-the-wool North Easterner, I would hesitate to call it “winter” here. It’s more like…Delicate Summer. Gentle breezes and sun that is hot if you stand in it, with shade that can be ever-s0-slightly chilly at times. People move here and find an escape from seasons that include things like snow and ice, and expect to be able to post photos of themselves in bathing suits with nice tans in January so all of their friends back home can pout jealously. “Yeah, we may live in 100+ degree heat with 90+% humidity for five months of the year, but LOOK AT ME NOW! HAVE FUN SHOVELING ALL OF THAT DIRTY-ASS SNOW!”
This winter is actually somewhat worthy of being called “winter,” and even people from snow-driven places are shivering and complaining. Where’s the sunshine, where’s the gentle, vulnerable underbelly of the beast that is truly summer here? Our tans are fading! We are shivering on the beach! What gives?!
I, for one, love it. When we were in Vietnam a couple of weeks ago, my friend Jodi and I lamented the wardrobe difficulties of living in a hot climate year-round. Without the opportunity to change over some closet items from season to season, you’re left with a rotating stock of the same-old, same-old and can be driven to clothes shopping binges just to get some variety in there. These past few weeks, I have dragged out sweaters and boots made for East Coast fall, draped myself in scarves, and reintroduced myself to jackets. While, admittedly, the excessive air conditioning of pretty much every building in Abu Dhabi has led me to keep these items handy (and I do wear many of them to the icebox that is my office), but they are rarely worn as outfits. Usually they are an added item to wear while indoors that is immediately ripped off once you’re out in the sunshiney sun. This January, I have fallen back into a couple of much-loved outfit routines from back home including Lots of Layers and All Black Everything.
I also love this weather because it has made me feel much more at home in my current state of hibernation. It’s quite difficult to dodge social engagements and wrap oneself in blankets with a steaming cup of tea to watch Netflix when it’s blazing sunshine and 75 degrees outside.
But, much like the hellacious summer, it’s temporary and will soon slip into something else. As much as I will the summer to go by faster and bring cooler weather, I can’t seem to make the cooler weather stick around any longer. So, as with most things here in Abu Dhabi and this expat life, I am just enjoying the moment, making the most of it, and tucking away memories that will help propel me through the next phase.