When we think of summer, we think of sun. The beach. Blue skies. Cool drinks. Our swim suit coming off as we swim in the strong yet warm ocean waters.
Summer’s my favourite time of the year in Melbourne – December through to February – for many reasons. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
We feel so much more productive, so much more eager about getting up during summer in Melbourne. As the summer sun rises early, rolling out of bed gets easier and so does the at-least-30-minute commute to work in the CBD for many of us each morning. When rays of summer sunshine poke through my blinds and shine on my face at 6am, I groan about how early it is, then remind myself of all the time I have to see the world.
And so we get to go places in Melbourne when it’s warm, places so easy to get to by foot or public transport. Going out, we discover people and places, and have fun and exciting times. Be at one with everything and everyone. And we can get away without taking an umbrella with us most summer days – 4-seasons in one day doesn’t usually happen this season, more so in autumn and spring.
We get the chance to have some peace come summer in Melbourne. It’s the “silly-season”: Christmas, New Year and Australia Day celebrations left, right and centre. Much reason for celebration with the ones we love, or having some “me time”.
Last New Years Day, I found myself wandering a quiet city alone. Looking at empty streets, I asked myself whether I really loved writing. The blazing sun piercing my yellow skin and sweat dotting my back. But I didn’t mind; I was lost in my thoughts, the only sounds I could hear. How will writing work out? Come summer, we get the chance to slow down. Get to know ourselves. Dream. Have hope for what’s to come.
Then again, not all Asians like summer, fearing the hot summer sun. My Chinese-Malaysian mum has never been to Melbourne’s beaches in summer, afraid of getting tanned and turning “all dark and ugly”. And she hates hot air on her skin, something she was all too familiar with living in Malaysia.
Some Asians spend most of their lives in hot, humid parts of Asia, and maybe, naturally summer in the western world doesn’t feel nice at all to them. Plus, when the weather heats up in Melbourne, some of us get red Asian cheeks when we usually don’t. Happens to me. Some think it’s cute, but a lot of the time red cheeks are annoyingly painful. Another thing to dislike about summer.
There are flies everywhere come summer in Melbourne, flies that seem to be a bother to Asians. Countless times summer flies have flown around my face. Countless times I’ve seen flies annoyingly flying around me and my Asian friends but not my Caucasian friends standing an arm’s length away from us. Maybe sometimes five-spice sauce sticks on our lips after we eat Asian, sauce that flies probably like.
So there are some things I don’t like about summer. The string of 40’C-plus days last summer in Melbourne was uncomfortable – oven-like temperatures. I sat in my room for most of the heat wave, writing. One productive sentence at a time. Taking a break from writing to read blogs and go places, seeing what’s up in winter on the other side of the world. Drawing the blinds down to keep my room cool and avoid looking like a tomato. Laughing at flies outside my closed window.
Loving summer. Summer lovin’.
Summer. It’s what we make of it. And if we make the most of summer, what’s not to like about it?
What do you like about summer? How do you spend your summers?