I have always been affected by the seasons and have spent the better part of the past twenty years either complaining about the cold or running away from it. Every year I have the same wish – to make like a bear and sleep until spring.
Although it was quite some time ago, I’m sure the four years I spent living in the UK were ‘bloody freezing’ as I recall that one year the temperature didn’t rise above 15°C for nine months. I don’t remember complaining too much but I think I was too drunk to feel or remember anything. During those indulgent years in the early 90s we had the heating turned up so high that we often just hung out in our t-shirts until it was time to go outside.
Holidays have always been taken in hot climates as spending my leisure time in subzero conditions has never EVER rated in the top 100. I did go to the snow two consecutive years in a row but once again I think alcohol was a key staple, mostly I’m sure to help me forget the fact that I was such a bad skier. Years later, at the end of an unusually cold winter whilst living in my parents’ inadequately heated house, I ran off to Queensland for a few years where the weather was fabulous but the small town mentality was not. After making a rash decision to return home to Melbourne, I remember sitting on my friend’s couch with a raging fever under a pile of blankets, trying to get warm while watching the mice play chasey around the coffee table and wondering what the hell I’d done.
Sicily’s winters are relatively mild but to me they’re still cold. I was coping just fine until I spent three glorious weeks in the Australian sunshine. It’s easier to go from cold to hot than the other way round and I subsequently I shut the door on life when I got back. After some internet self-diagnosis I am certain I had what is commonly known as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ – SAD. Feeling SAD, grumpy, moody or anxious – Yes! Lost interest in your usual activities – Yes! Eating and craving more sugars and carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta – Yes! Yes! Yes! (The latter, disappointingly, had nothing to do with the weather.) The solution it seems is to have light therapy with sunlight or bright lights or, when those options are unavailable as it was in my case, is to just suck it up, stick it out and stop the fuck complaining.
Finally however, winter is over and the sun (God bless her) is shinning almost every day now. I’ve packed away my solitary coat, my woolen scarves, hats and gloves and replaced them with the summer dresses and sandals that have been stored away in the suitcase under my bed. I might be jumping the gun a little, as rain is predicted for a good part of the coming week, but seeing these colourful items in my wardrobe, and knowing that cloudless, warm days are soon to be upon us, makes me incredibly happy.
With spring comes gelato and the time for eating it is nigh. Although if I’m to be totally honest, I already started at the first sign of t-shirt wearing weather a few weeks back. Gelaterie and bars are only just beginning to fill the empty spaces in their display cabinets, whilst new venues are popping up all over the city. I do have my favourite haunts about town but am always open to recommendations and every local I meet has their own opinion. Last week I was privy to sample my local bar owner Vittorio’s homemade pistachio Granita. It blew the #1 contender out of the water and is made using fresh organic pistachios that are toast oh just right. So delicious!
Daydreams of summer aside, I’m now forced to think about my future and what to do after my contract finishes in June. I think that summer school in the UK is a given again this year but I’m in a bit of a quandary as to what to do next. Stay or go? Familiarity and friendships versus new experiences? Laughable salary versus, well… nothing will change there. Catania certainly doesn’t rate as an idyllic Italian destination for most but I have made some friends here and despite it being in the deep, dark south it is a relatively safe place to be. I seem to be on a never-ending search for Nirvana, but is it really out there?
Ah, there’s a lot to think about in the next few months while I’m paddling around the Mediterranean and indulging in a gelato or two.
This blog entry is dedicated to Brett Wright who recently commented, “these posts are getting a bit few and far between for my liking you slacker”.