Spain has done that thing again where it jumps straight from winter to summer, literally overnight. I know that technically it’s meant to be spring (because the birds are noisy and my eyes are itchy), but temperature-wise, it’s almost as though the ‘transition’ season has been completely bypassed. A week ago I was still wearing my heavy winter coat and wondering if it was worth getting my leaky boots re-soled, and now suddenly I’m despairing about things like breaking-in sandals and not having enough t-shirts. Yep, it’s back to showering every day again. Life is tough. And at school, the teenagers have suddenly gone all crazy-like (well, more crazy than normal). The other teachers have warned me though – this is nothing, just wait and see how the chicos get when the weather really heats up. I’m kinda nervous.
That’s the start of a blog post I began writing last week.
Now the latest news is: it was all just a teaser. The weather demons sure are keeping us on our toes, as snow and thunderstorms have been forecasted for the rest of April*. Confusing.
I’m hoping this means that at some point we’ll get some middle-ish, normal-ish temperatures. Then I’ll actually get a chance to wear-in the autumn/spring leather jacket that cost me a small fortune to have custom made in Morocco last year. (Silly me. Investing in mid-weight clothing when I live in a bipolar climate.)
In the mean time, this sunny taste of things to come has got me pretty damn excited about the next few months. Sweaty teenagers and fashion concerns aside, I love summer.
It’s also reminded me of an activity I once did at Vaughan Town (an English immersion program for which I’ve volunteered a couple of times). We had to come up with an innovative product, and act out a small skit to market it. Our group decided to sell ‘bottled Spanish sunlight’. The impromptu sketch featured some despondent looking poms, sitting around being gloomy (and pommy), until someone opens a bottle of ‘Sol’ (our fictitious product, not the beer). Suddenly, the lights flick on, everybody smiles and comes to life, and Carmen (public servant from Madrid) stamps/glides/twirls flamenco style across the stage. Because ‘Sol’ makes people happy.
Our ad was no exaggeration. The positive effect the sunlight has on individual moods, and on the mass ‘vibe’, is startlingly, instantaneously evident. It’s not that winter was bad (I was expecting it to be worse, but the novelty of snow and having a well insulated apartment really took the edge off), but wow, I’d forgotten how beautiful sun is, how much it changes everything. Sun is the magic ingredient. It causes the streets and parks and plazas to suddenly come alive, really alive, with the colours and sounds of people being with people. Copas and tapas and kids running round with bubbles. Suddenly, it’s almost as though the crisis doesn’t exist. And if you could bottle and sell the Spanish sun, it probably wouldn’t.
* there’s a Spanish proverb which says Hasta el 40 de mayo, no te quites el sayo (Until the 40th of May, don’t take off your tunic). So it can still get cold in June. I consider myself warned.