FOOD FOR THOUGHT BLOG | Where Does the Weather Take You?, by Pat Tsang

Aug 19, 2022

FOOD FOR THOUGHT BLOG | Where Does the Weather Take You?, by Pat Tsang

Where does the weather take you?

The first thing I do after getting out of bed every day is to check out the weather. I open the curtain and look up at the sky.  As long as it is a bright day, I will be happy.  

I am always bothered by the weather. Before I moved to Manchester,  my friends and family warned me that the weather here could be so extreme that I might not be able to survive.  I am actually very weak against cold weather.  Having been living here for two winters, I have become a bit stronger to cope with the cold weather.  However, I am beaten hands down completely after I realised that I lose 415 sunshine hours a year of which I am supposed to have if I were still living in Hong Kong.   

HK has a subtropical climate which brings us mild winters, and very hot and humid summers. It  has around 1830 hours of sunshine on average a year while Manchester has 1,415 hours.   My tan skin can prove that I used to have plenty of it. I have never needed to worry about not absorbing enough Vitamin D before I moved here.  However, when I saw the dentist recently, he suggested that I go outdoors as much as possible to get Vitamin D from direct sunlight.  I was not aware that I needed to change my behaviour towards sunshine until he told me.  In summer time, I would walk under canopies or open an umbrella to protect myself from getting hurt by strong UV (most of the buildings in HK have canopies to provide pedestrians with shelter from weather conditions), and I would also avoid having outdoor activities between 9am to 5pm when I was there.   Not only was I the one doing so, but also most of the HK people.  It is very common.   

By listening to my dentist’s advice, I have started to go out to get sunlight in my neighbourhood  lately. I deliberately go out during lunch time, and not walk under any canopy in order to get as much sunlight as possible. It is a tourist attraction where there are canals and a water sport centre.  It also has a few coffee shops and restaurants,  a shopping mall, some office buildings as well  as residential apartments.  The area becomes very vibrant when it is lunch time and  weekends, especially in summer. I found working people eating their sandwiches and coffee, sitting on the lawn or benches, exposing them to sunlight, chatting and laughing with their  colleagues.  They all looked like they were having fun.

Besides, on one Saturday, I found there were kids playing flying disc with dads in a piazza.  Even beach chairs were being provided there.  People were wearing sunglasses, sitting on the chairs, having cold drinks or eating ice-cream. Moreover, youngsters were swimming in the canal, lying along the path of the canal and sunbathing with their bikinis on.   I was completely gobsmacked as I have never seen such a scene taking place except on beaches. However, they all looked like they were having fun regardless of what the environment could offer.  Having seen such scenes, I realised something…

There are only canals but not the sea;  

the lawns but not the beaches;

or only lunches with sandwiches and coffee.

Even more, the sun is not shining as much as it is in the other cities.  

But there are flying discs, beach chairs and ice-cream along with lots of chatter, laughter and funny stories.

So, what makes people really happy?  

Is it just as simple as to appreciate the sunshine, and make the most of it?

Let’s shake off our worries, not care about where the weather takes us, just lie on the lawns or the beaches, 

Get close to nature and we will become healthy and wealthy.

Nina