There has never been a longer stretch of time, in which I have not complained about the weather in Germany. It is becoming almost discomfiting. I am not used to being so deeply satisfied with the weather here; I am The Weather Complainer, it’s my job, it’s my first response to the question of ‘what do you miss about home’ before I remember my family. And yet, since the middle of April, I have gadded about in a singlet and thongs, spending 99% of my days outside, sending my daughter to kindergarten without a back-up jumper/rainpants/gumboots/slightly warmer hat. We have barbecued about 345 times. The children are as brown as berries. At first, it seemed like a freak week of good weather. Then that week became the rest of April, which became the entire May, and now here we are in June and none of this utter gloriousness shows any sign of abating.
All of this means that I am now forced to contemplate something I never thought I would. You see, I have always said if (northern) Germany had good weather, it would be perfect. I have never actually been forced to contemplate if this is indeed a correct assumption, because I have never actually experienced weeks of consistent sunshine and warmth in all my years living in this country. Indeed most Germans themselves have never experienced weeks of consistent sunshine and warmth; no one quite knows what to do with themselves. But here I am, relaxed and replete with Vitamin D, unable to recall what rain smells like, unable to envision wearing a boot or a scarf ever again.
The comparing of Life Here and Life There is a quiet reflex developed after years of figuring out where to stay and why. With regularity, one trots out the reasons for staying here and not going there; our lives here are happy and full and supported. Slower than they would be in Australia, with a greater emphasis on free time and seasonal enjoyment. Our children have access to a terrific, affordable kindergarten and their school and university education will be free. They are more likely to be fully bilingual in this particular environment, and I am forced to keep learning, which is a good thing. Travel is cheaper. Healthcare, while expensive, is top notch. Northern Germans are far more environmentally aware, they are well-practiced in the art of genugsamkeit. And with each trotting out of the reasons for staying here, one then tempers them with the reasons we may one day go there: family, Heimat, weather.
These last seven weeks have felt like living in Australia in Germany. Everything’s topsy turvy. The grass is brown, the garden’s thirsty, the kids are always barefoot and under-dressed. I don’t even know where my Übergangsjacke is, an otherwise utter staple of one’s wardrobe this time of year. We live with zero fear we’ll lose the sun, instead plans are made with the assumption it’ll be warm and we’ll be outside. There is that wonderful languidness to the afternoons that warmth brings, the sense of permanent holiday.
It’s like Germany, sick of being disparaged for its weather, sick of its affinity for rain being the only thing standing between it and alleged perfection, is testing me. ‘Go on then,’ it’s saying, ‘am I perfect? Say it. Say it.’
Okay. This has been the easiest, most relaxed, most perfect two months of my German career. I could not ask for more.
(I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t whisper how lovely a day of rain would be for the garden. Just one day.)
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