Jul 25, 2012

The heat continues on

Once you move to another climate, you realize how deeply engrained the weather type of your childhood is. You almost instinctively know what to expect from looking at the sky, as you have seen that sky many times before, and your language is loaded with ancient proverbs and grandma's wisdoms. Take GABROEN's motherland for example. It will rain "if you hear a cuckoo", if "there's a reddish sunrise", if "the rooster doesn't cry before a reddish sunset". You get the picture, it rains quite a lot in Holland. Holland has a sea climate that is tempered by the closeness of the North Sea and the warm gulf stream of the Northwest Atlantic. This creates the typical clouds and skies made famous by the Dutch Masters, and a specific light I have not seen elsewhere. A brisk light that you start noticing when taking photos, and it almost radiates of pictures. And Dutch summers are temperate, with official criteria for a heatwave when there are 5 consecutive days over 77 degrees F (yes, 77 !), of which at least 2 over 86 degrees F.

So for someone being used to Dutch definitions of a heatwave, the current summer in the Midwest is a little unnerving. The last two months have been pretty much in the 80s or 90s, with an occasional 100 degree F record temperature. Today we topped again at 98 (or 37 degrees C) and it's still 85 (or 30 degrees C) at midnight. However, the heat doesn't bother us, but it's mainly the hot wind that feels unnatural to those born and raised at the North Sea. You get the sense that someone has turned a giant hair-blower at you, and the only way to escape is to retreat inside in the relative comfort of your air-conditioning. I love the heat, but long for the refreshing North Sea breeze that makes curly hair dance and the sky brisk blue.

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