One thing I don’t think I’ll get used to is the warm weather in Sydney around Christmas time.
For the past two years I have returned to the States so that I can spend the holidays with my family. Considering that I grew up in Midwest America where we definitely don’t have any shortages of white Christmases, it feels rather strange for me to be in a warm place like Sydney around December. For me, there is something a bit unsettling about people singing Let it Snow when it’s getting close to 30ºC out.
I have noticed, however, that I don’t have much of a problem readjusting to the Minnesota winters, much to the surprise of many of my Australian friends.
I’m used to going back home and just doing what all Minnesotans do in the winter – wearing lots of fleece sweaters and socks, heating up your car 20 minutes before you need to go anywhere and never going outside with your hair wet. “Basic Midwest cold survival techniques” have been ingrained in me since I was a child, so picking them back up is as easy as riding a bike.
Read more of Acacia's journey here
Trading America for Australia: my mother sent me to study 9,000 miles away!
Trading America for Australia: why do chickens eat each other?
Trading America for Australia: finding student accommodation
Trading America for Australia: figuring out how to not fail
In contrast, when I return to Sydney in January from Minnesota it takes me much longer to adjust to the heat again – I don’t think I’ve ever become accustomed to Australian temperatures. At least if you’re cold you can always put on another layer, but if you’re too hot you can only take off so much before it becomes illegal.
Just yesterday I was looking at the temperature in Sydney and it was about 28ºC. Contrast that with the current -6ºC in Minnesota – I would rather have the cold. By Minnesota standards, that isn’t even that bad – last year when I came home it was -20ºC so I consider myself lucky this time.
Related to the lack of snow in Sydney and the warm weather, I also don’t feel the Christmas spirit as much in Australia as I do back home. This is probably because in Minnesota there is constant snow on the ground, neighbourhoods full of lights and overbearing Christmas music everywhere you go any time after 1 November (and nowadays even earlier in some places).
As much as people in Minnesota complain about how commercialised Christmas is now (a pastime I have certainly participated in plenty), after living away for a couple of years I quite miss it – something I never thought I’d say. This modern annoyance is now actually something I look forward to.
So, this month, I am enjoying being home with my family after working hard on exams at the end of November. Although I am doing a placement at my local veterinary clinic while I’m here, so I’m not completely on vacation, it is refreshing to be back in a comfortable, familiar environment with my family and friends.