I have a very interesting job. Some days you will find me in the office before the morning rush hour, other days late in the evening, and sometimes… both (ahh!). Some weeks, I use Saturdays and Sundays to catch up on the work that I just couldn’t get to on the other five days. And, other weeks, I get to travel! This summer turned out to be quite an interesting one. I worked exhausting hours but also visited New York, California, the Pacific Northwest, England, and Iceland. Although this journey has been totally exhausting, it has also been a total adventure! This summer has also changed the idea of summer for me.
Growing up in the North East, I am accustomed to four seasons marked by very hot summers and very cold winters. Summer meant pools, snow cones, and shorts. This past summer I experienced a couple of different climates that were not at all compatible with the summer of my youth. In Monterey, California, summer is rather mild. The mornings are often foggy, the days never hit 80 degrees, and the nights are chilly in the 50s. Although the town is packed with tourists and the beaches have chairs and umbrellas, you won’t see anyone (save for the occasional European) in the freezing ocean. Interestingly, summer is not even the hottest time in Monterey. Temperatures do not peak until mid-October, a time when the fog subsides, and the sun can more reliably heat the earth. On my trip to Monterey, I also made it all the way up to Vancouver, Canada. Interestingly, southern Canada was way warmer than northern California.
That same summer, I also had the pleasure of traveling to New York City and Oxford, England. New York summers can be oppressive. The skyscrapers and the asphalt radiate, making the city a few degrees warmer than the surrounding areas. My walks in NYC were limited to the early morning as this was the only time when I was positive that a 30-min pace wouldn’t require a shower and a change of clothing afterward. In Oxford, the summer there was much like what I had expected, sunny and warm (with some cloudy and rainy days, of course). However, unlike NYC, Oxford was not so oppressively hot or humid. The nights could be cool, but my childish ideas of summertime were upheld.
In August, on another work trip, I was fortunate enough to make it up to Reykjavik, Iceland! Some say that “Iceland is green, and Greenland is ice,” supposedly to point out our ignorance of these two islands. This little saying made me excited to see a lush green landscape in the middle of the north Atlantic. Dear Reader, please remember that this quaint island is indeed an “iceland.” While Iceland can enjoy mild winters (much warmer on average than you may see in the northeastern U.S.) it is not the lush, little island I had expected it to be. Upon my arrival in Reykjavik, I walked to the city center and purchased a pair of gloves and a hat. Of course, I had checked the weather before my arrival (a high of around 55 degrees on average), though this did not feel so warm. For one thing, the wind chill in Iceland can be outrageous. Literally, hold on to your hats (and small children for that matter) as the temperatures in some regions can be more than 10 degrees cooler than the forecast due to high wind speeds. During my week there, the mornings were often cloudy, sometimes rainy, but the sun would usually make a daily appearance (if only briefly). Iceland is beautiful in its own way, there are very few trees making the landscape from above look Martian. However, the blue waters, imposing mountains, and architecture of the city, make this country a uniquely terrestrial wonder.
Dear Reader, wherever you find yourself this summer, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you are somewhere eating ice cream (even if it’s a bit nippy out) and enjoying a few more hours of sunlight. Whether at home or abroad, I believe that summer is something to be celebrated. We are, after all, very human creatures and it is important to experience joy when we can, even during a cold, rainy, summer.