We have this saying in Cape Town: “Here, you get all four seasons, every day!” When I first arrived, I thought people who said this were being ridiculous. After 10 months, however, I find myself saying this to other people.

I arrived in September, which is the end of winter here. It was cold and wet nearly every day. October and November brought on wind unlike anything I’ve lived in, with sunshine and rain and cold and hot interspersed throughout the days. December through April were, mostly, gorgeous weather. It would get hot, but not too hot. It would get cold, but not too cold. There was rain and wind and sunshine and clouds. In May, we entered winter again. It is now mostly cold and wet again, but I have acquired a winter hat and a pair of boots to brave the storms.

Some days, I will wake up to the sound of wind and rain and want to dress for winter, only to arrive at work sweating under all my layers as the sun has come out. In the afternoon, it will rain again, and then suddenly the temperature will drop or rise. On other days, I will dress like a desert girl, only to be caught in a downpour and soaked through. We get all four seasons, every day, which makes sense when you consider I live on a peninsula off of the southern coast of a continent, at the meeting of two oceans, right?

People tend to dismiss “talking about the weather” as banal small talk- something to be avoided. The thing is, though, talking about the weather is important. The weather is one thing you definitely have in common with everyone in your neighborhood. More importantly, when you don’t have A/C or heating or a car, the weather affects your day-to-day life. When it rains here, people often don’t go to work unless it is necessary. When it was hot, sometimes my supervisor would close the office a bit early so we could all go lay down indoors. Now, it is totally reasonable to sit with my coworkers and talk about how much we look forward to going home, getting under our blankets, and staying there until morning. The weather impacts every day of my life in Cape Town. For example, as I write this blog post, my hands are so cold that I keep typing silly typos. 

I have found that truly experiencing the daily weather has given me a better appreciation for seasons, for a roof to live under and a blanket to sleep under, for the beauty of the cycle of nature. More importantly, it has given me a great appreciation for people to sit around with and talk about the weather.