Meredith Moss is angry. It’s almost June and the skies are still leaden. To calm herself, she’s written a measured and rational analysis of the weather in Luxembourg. Just kidding.
Here’s the thing. The joke is on me, because I left a place that has more breathtakingly gorgeous sunny days than anywhere on the planet. I lived on the beach in Southern California. I spent my twenties in a place where you only knew what season it was by looking at the calendar unless it was ‘June Gloom’, a marine layer which means overcast skies and cooler temperatures. June Gloom lasts around 15 days and is celebrated by Angelinos crying about how horrible the weather was and how they were all considering increasing their antidepressants, suffering from SAD and contemplating suicide.
Love from a cold climate
I remember first laying eyes on Sweet British Pete (SBP) at a hip-hop night in a seedy beach bar. The first thing I noticed was simply how glowingly white he was; I wasn’t convinced it was safe for him to expose his skin to the California sunlight. For our first week of dating, I constantly suggested he put on a sweatshirt and if visiting a restaurant, was sure to request the sad indoor table reserved for staff breaks. I’m sure to himself, he questioned why I insisted he drape a beach towel over his legs when sitting at a cafe but we were getting to know each other so was too polite to refuse the sombrero.
I knew very little about London as I’d only ever had a layover there en route to somewhere else in Europe. But as we got to know each other better, I learned about the rather unfortunate climate in which he’d grown up in.
Something I wouldn’t learn until living in Britain was that, for natives, moaning about the weather is inherently an art form. They can convince you that it is overcast and thoroughly damp 365 days a year when, in reality, one sees the sun on at least 22 days a year.
2016, or the year the sun forgot
Moving to Lux, I adjusted quite well and felt it was a bit easier compared to London’s daily rather boring, lacklustre rain. London has no drama to its weather and I was energised by Luxembourg’s thunderstorms and appreciate that you can mark the time you’ve been here by four real seasons……until this year.
It has only been in 2016, that I’ve found myself living in a climate so dismal that I sometimes feel the weather is too horrible to do anything other than complain.
I’ve become one of the people I can hardly stand to be in the same room with who babbles pointlessly about something none of us can control but yet, cannot stop moaning.
This cold and bitter winter became cold and bitter spring and then it went back to being cold and bitter winter. I’ve caught myself saying ‘Bring on Global Warming!’; more often, though, it’s been ‘WHEN ARE WE EVER GOING TO SEE THE SUN? THIS RAIN HAS RUINED OUR PLANS! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! WHO DECIDED TO SETTLE AND FORM A COUNTRY IN THIS DISGUSTING CLIMATE?’ to SBP. See, when I am mad, I am totally rational like that. I just want to throw out these god-forsaken jeans that I’ve worn every single day since October; is that bad?? I’d also like to have a weekend where I don’t wake up and yell at my husband. I’m sure he does too.
The cow incident
I think the real low point this spring was the day I looked out the window, saw a hint of sunlight behind a cloud and bolted with the baby barely strapped into the pram. I needed to go for a walk across the fields before my son got diagnosed with Rickets due to lack of vitamin D. We got eight minutes down the road when it started hailing and my son’s pram was completely white with ice.
A sweet farmer offered us to take cover in the barn and that day, there was a little less walking and a little more learning about all things cow-related. As I walked home, I thought about how disappointed I was to learn that the cows hate hot, sunny days and prefer it to be cold and rainy. Why couldn’t the cows commiserate with me on our abysmal weather? I decided that not only did I not understand cows, I no longer wanted to have them as pets. I also realised that Luxembourgish farmers are amazing and friendly and I love them, but a smile doesn’t actually make a good umbrella.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
One thing that is open to us in Luxembourg more easily is the chance to escape. Do a bolt, like I did last weekend. Prague was 28 degrees and sunny and I actually heard myself saying to a girlfriend ‘I don’t know if I could handle much hotter than this because it isn’t pleasant if you are wearing 3/4 sleeves.’ I really should slap myself more often. Also realise that there’s no pleasing ourselves and we should just learn to weather *ahem* the Luxembourg storms.
Besides migrating, perhaps we can look to countries who have it worse and copy some of their habits (or alternatively, just laugh at them). In Denmark, I sat bundled up and freezing on a dock while elderly people dove off and swam in frigid water wearing nothing but their birthday suits. They swear by it and say it is the only thing that gives them energy in such a dark climate. Perhaps something to try in the Pétrusse?
The Norwegians, on the other hand, claim their antidote to darkness is lighting fires and getting as close as possible because they have a theory of the rays of flames have the same bandwidth as the rays from the sun and they heat deeper than electric heat bc the heat appears when the rays hit the skin. Or some nonsense like that. Whatever. Let’s set the Duchy ablaze!
The Finns sweat like crazy by getting in ridiculously hot saunas so there’s that. I definitely think I would prefer sweating over hypothermia. The alternative to this is, of course, to drink. A hot toddy in a cold climate is just what your doctor Meredith orders. And we do have access to great booze at great prices here. The weather’s looking up already.
The bright side is… the sun does seem to be peeking out now and then, so perhaps our 20 days of sunshine are really on their way. Unless it hails again – then I’ll see you in the cow shed.
Features Photo: Milada Vigerova/Unsplash