Living on the flip side
May. May Day. Mother's Day. Flowers should be blooming. Young animals should be emerging from nests, dens, burrows. The weather should be calm, soothing, warm. Outdoor activities and BBQs should be on the agenda.
However, on a grey, chilly day in Brisbane, Australia I find myself craving soup, honeyed tea and freshly baked cookies. I look around for ghosts and try to spot black cats. I expect the leaves to fall from the trees; red, orange and gold. People rush by in scarves and boots, ready to confront the wind.
The strangest thing about living in Australia hasn't been the koala and kangaroo roadkill or driving on the left side of the road or often unintelligible accent or sudden storms. It's been celebrating holidays and seasons OUT OF ORDER!
For the past 28 years, my Christmas was cold, my Halloween was blustery, my Easter was filled with budding plants. Now, my world seems confused. I never realized how my perspective of each month was so closely tied to its season until packing up my life and taking it Down Under.
As my days grow shorter while my family and friends' days grow longer, it seems both unfair and exciting to experience the polar opposite of their daily lives. This will be the first time that I celebrate my end of June birthday snuggled up in blankets instead of at the swimming pool.
In the end, I don't think I could ever get used to celebrating the holidays in this upside-down way because the memories connected with them are too strong. For this, I have my mother to blame (in a good way!) She is the most holiday obsessed person I know and truly made each and every holiday incredible for me and my brother. We are shaped by both nature and nurture, but when it comes to St. Patrick's Day, St. Nicholas Day, Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, and especially Halloween, my mother touched each ordinary day with magic and that is exactly as it remains in my mind.
To my readers in the Northern Hemisphere: enjoy your warmer weather, your beach trips, your longer days, and balmy nights. To my readers in the Southern Hemisphere: while it's fun to experience your Alice in Wonderland vision of the holidays, they will never seem as special or as real.
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