When the Sun Rises in the Southeast...
It is quite common to ask friends about which season they like the most. I can tell you that most of my friends from Hong Kong like winter. It is no surprise as we can enjoy moderate temperature and plenty of sunshine even in winter. The sun rises at around 7am, and sets around at 6pm there. We have longer days! Doing outdoor activities like barbequing, hiking, running, or cycling in this season could be pleasant as the weather is dryer and milder, you won’t be sweating at all. We can also enjoy some dishes specially for winter which help us keep warm; foods like Hot Pot, Claypot Rice, Braised Lamb Stew…etc. Thank the season for giving us an excuse to eat.
It never snows in Hong Kong, so I used to like going to some colder places such as Japan or Korea to spend Christmas Holidays to see snow. Experiencing cold weather and seeing snow for a week or two is real fun. Don’t you think a white christmas is beautiful and romantic? When I think of winter, I always associate it with good memories. However, after I resided in the UK, I found winter is the season I want to escape from. Having spent my third winter here, I finally managed to have a new perspective on it.
As you may know, the UK lies near the North Sea and the North Atlantic. It is very cold with freezing temperatures and less sunlight when it is in winter. The sun rises in the Southeast around 8am, and sets in the Southwest sooner at around 4pm. Daytime only lasts for about 8 hours!!! The day becomes shorter and shorter until the Winter Solstice comes – the shortest day of the year. The freezing weather and limited daylight always makes me reluctant to go out, and feel low in spirit to do things. These kinds of conditions are very powerful to drag me down. Have you heard about a term called winter depression? No wonder that people feel depressed in winter. I completely understand now. To prevent myself from being dragged down, I am taking a series of actions to fight against this powerful “giant”. Here they are :
- take as much sunlight as possible by waking up earlier everyday
- push myself to go out for a walk even when the temperature is freezing
- spoil myself with hot and sweet drinks whenever I want a cup (forgetting the “on-diet” plan for now)
- put on colourful clothes to let myself shine under the grey sky
I know all these are cliches to those who live in the UK long enough. I am sure you will have your own list of actions to cope with the winter blues. All I want to say here is when winter is not favourable to me, I make it favourable. I discovered winter is the best season for me to do reading, studying, and thinking. It is a quiet and precious time for an active person like me to slow down and do something that I seldom spare time to do.
I bought a jug lately. It is a jug containing some Muscari Armeniacum’s bulbs. There is an important message printed in bold letters to remind owners to place the jug in a cool and dark place 5-10°C for a minimum of 10 weeks. This is for stimulating root and flower development. If this step is missed, the bulbs may not flower in spring. It is very true to my self-development, too. Winter is no longer a giant to me that I have to run away from, but it is the season I should embrace. When the sun rises in the southeast again, it is not only about delicious foods, snowy scenery or freezing temperatures. It has more to await me.