I recognize that entries such as this come from a place of privilege. You could even describe the condition as overindulged (a nicer word for ‘spoiled’), no doubt the result of being American. I think only my fellow expats understand this. When I try to talk about it with Theo, he sort of just rolls his eyes.
Many things in Melbourne are just a little bit harder than in Miami. Here’s one more for that list.
I missed winter last year. By the time winter was rolling around in Melbourne, my three-month visa was coming to an end. I returned to Miami and I left again just as winter was settling in there. Miami had a mild winter, as it usually does. A cold front comes through and people pull out their sweaters for a few days. Then the temperature goes back up until the next cold front.
I’ve been back in Melbourne for about two weeks now and it’s been cold. Not freezing cold, but enough to warrant layers and even coats and scarves. It gets colder at night. It’s also rained most days and I realize that those people who said that it never rains in Melbourne were lying.
We have a heater, but no central heating, which is as common in Melbourne as not having central cooling. On cold days, we do a dance of opening and closing certain doors to control the air flow (we do this on hot days too actually and with windows as well). On cold nights, we have no choice but to resort to layers of clothing, extra blankets, and maybe a hot water bottle to warm the bed. This is basically normal in Melbourne, where the temperature can drop to 0°C (32°F). This is one example of “everything is just a little bit harder here”. While heating is less common, I don’t know a single person in Miami without some kind of cooling system.
Many Aussies will say it’s about conserving energy. What they really mean is saving money because energy is outrageously expensive. I’m confident that if energy were cheap, the green argument would quickly lose steam.
It’s only fall. Winter is coming. Already it’s dark at about 5pm. Having lived in Miami all my life, I don’t really know what it means to be cold, really cold. I’m not looking forward to finding out.
About the featured image: By James Thomas Photography