One of the big reasons that, after a year and a half there, I moved south from Dalian was I feared battling through another northeastern winter.
But, but, I'm Canadian… there's three things we Canucks all know: hockey, winter and how to make love in a canoe. Well folks, sorry to break the stereotype, but my boat-boinking skills are rusty, I can't stop on ice without the use of the boards, and I f'ing HATE the cold.
Originally I had planned to move us to either Xiamen or Hainan, two places that don't see much in the way of cold breezes, never mind subzero temperatures. In the end, the best offer for teaching came from Suzhou – and with a latitude of about 31°N, I figured it'd be alright. A few other places that share this line on the Earth:
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Atlanta, GA, USA
- Austin, TX, USA
- Baja, Mexico
- Jerusalem, Israel
However, upon arriving here I was told that I should be prepared for cold winters. I was a bit confused by this, but chocked it up to "these people" not knowing what "real" winters were and the fact that there's no centralized heating. Looking at some climate information for Suzhou though, it does show some chilly weather come Dec/Jan/Feb, where the mercury might touch that freezing mark and coupled with the humidity here – I could see why bringing my winter jacket down here with me might prove not to be the waste of space I had initially thought.
Despite this, we've had FANTASTIC weather lately. Honestly, it's November and I can still comfortably get away with wearing a t-shirt when I go out. Yesterday I headed to Shanghai to meet up with some friends for lunch and a stroll through a few art galleries, and armed with just jeans and a t-shirt, there were points where I even broke a sweat.
My happiness with this pleasant weather was compounded when Maggie's mom called here this morning to tell her it was snowing in Dalian. And checking the weather back in my hometown, I can't help but smile that I'd be quite a bit colder if I was back home.
Despite loving the weather, my system is being thrown a little out of wack. The extended summer has not gone unnoticed, and I wake up every day wondering what month it is. Suzhou is the first time I've lived in a climate that wasn't pretty similar to that which I had grown up with. I've lived in four different "centres" in my life – Southern Ontario (Canada), Okanagan Valley BC (Canada), Dalian (China), and now Suzhou (China) – and Suzhou is the only one that has broken that Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter cycle. It's not that the seasons changing doesn't exist, it's just different. More subtle.
Still, I'm not going to complain – how can you complain about sunny skies and a temperature of about 24°C?