I’m a child of the tropics. The two places I’ve spent the majority of my life in so far – India and Singapore – are both close to the equator, which means that the seasons I’m familiar with are summer, about to be summer, just after summer, and, once in a while, monsoon. It’s no surprise, then, that the season I’m always daydreaming about is winter. I know, from various people complaining about it, that’s it’s not all it’s cranked up to be, but that never stops me from indulging in my white winter fantasies.
I’ve never really experienced winter. Most of my youth was spent in South India, where winter is not so much a season on its own as it is the period after summer, where it’s just hot, as compared to blistering hot. In Singapore, you don’t even get that. The temperature remains around the same throughout the year, sometimes rising to unbearable levels but never dipping to anything close to winter weather. When it rains, you get what might be described as “pleasant” weather – slightly cooler temperatures, with accompanying wind that relieves the heat for a few hours. In fact, in Singapore, you’re more likely to experience winter indoors, where buildings and public transport systems compensate for the heat by turning the air-conditioning down to levels that can sustain polar bears.
The funny thing is that I’ve never even been on a winter holiday. I guess some part of this is a conscious decision – you’re always less likely to be able to do stuff in winter, and the weather can easily ruin carefully laid out plans – but I’m surprised I’ve never actually decided to go somewhere during winter just to experience it. When I visited France a couple of years back, I experienced non-seasonal cold weather on one day of the trip (and because it caught me off-guard, I was not sartorially prepared), and got a little taste of what actual winter might feel like. When I was younger, my automatic response to the question “Would you rather be stuck in extremely hot or extremely cold weather?” was always the latter, but that experience made me doubt that answer just a little bit.
I think a large portion of me wanting to experience winter has to do with a fascination for fall/winter fashion. Coats, sweaters, boots, scarves, mittens – I’m into all of it. I feel like, in general, winter wear is almost universally flattering. I’m not what you might call a fashionable person myself, but I have a lot of opinions on what looks good and what doesn’t, and I can’t think of many ways to go wrong with winter wear. Just layer up, and off you go!
My susceptibility to inexplicable moodiness makes me think I wouldn’t fare well if I were to live in a place that actually experiences full-blown winter. It might make for a good change of pace, but I know that without adequate sunshine, I’d get depressed and lethargic and feel miserable about everything. That’s why the idea of a winter holiday sounds more and more tempting now – a way to experience cold weather and parade around in chic winter wear for a week or two, and then back to sunny climes before I can start feeling blue.
Let’s hope Australia in July will do the trick!