This year we spent the winter in Guatemala and the summer in Ireland–the fall in Northern Michigan and December and April in Charlottesville. We moved to Budapest the first of May but left before the miserable heat wave of summer.
That was by design. I set our schedule to avoid snow and heat–the two meteorological events I can’t abide.
Why not optimize the weather? (Although my son, Ryan, says this is the first sign of old age.)
Cost, of course, played into the dynamic. As did family. But once those elements were factored in (winter in Guatemala versus Hawaii. Christmas with family), we moved based on my simple desire to live without a winter coat.
Guatemala is the land of eternal spring. The weather hovered in the 70s with little humidity. Given its proximity to the equator, the days were longer. I never felt entrapped by the dreariness of January and wore my sleeveless dress until I wore it out.
Ireland, of course, is the land of the eternal wool sweater. We had a handful of sleeveless days, but most involved a jacket—or a sweater. For me, this works so much better than a heat wave.
Michigan, Charlottesville and Budapest–for the most–part behaved. The entire year, we felt as though we were being chased by an inclemency phantom, which was a bit exhilarating.
The side benefit, as a full-time traveler, was the simple and light-weight packing required to support a year of spring-like weather.
So now, looking back, would I do this again?
There’s something exhilarating about the first day when you notice the sun is still up as you prepare dinner; the first time you sit outside at a café; the first buds of spring poking through the newly thawed earth. I missed all that, along with not stewing things in cast iron pots and returning home to a warm apartment after a brisk walk.
There’s just something so joyful when the torture of an exceptionally bad bout of weather ends.
The cities have a season as real and predictable as nature itself. It’s one of the reasons we are moving to Paris for a year. I’ve never had Paris all to myself under a grey, February sky. I have never eaten roasted chestnuts from a street side vendor, never heard the bells of Notre Dame on Easter morning.
To know a city, I think you need to know it over time and month by month. It’s like the seasons of life itself. Broken down, each piece possesses the best and worst of the whole. To miss a season creates a divot.
There will be times when I hunker down over a coffee, study my verb conjugations and dream that I’m back in Guatemala. On those days, I will simmer a beef bourguignon on the stove. Pat and I will share a bottle of Bordeaux. I’ll take a nap.
Then there will be days when I stroll along the Canal Saint Martin by twilight amazed at my good fortune. I will hear the bells of Notre Dame—on Easter Sunday and almost every other Sunday of the year. One morning in March, I’ll notice a daffodil.
I’m sure someday we will revert to chasing mild weather. But not next year.
To love a city, you must love with it through all the seasons. For me, the city I love is Paris. I want to experience it all.
Categories: How To