Sun from Taipei 101

As all of you who live in Taipei know, the weather has been especially insolent lately, going from hot and (relatively) dry to cloudy and humid to chilly and rainy, all within the space of a few days.

If the weather were a little boy and I were a Victorian mother, I would take it on my knee and spank it. The temperature and barometric pressure changes make me nervous, because they can cause me to have migraines. They also make it difficult for me to plan my wardrobe. Today I had a press screening to go to and therefore had to wash my face and put on something decent. Since it was muggy yesterday, I decided on a cotton sundress, light short-sleeved cardigan and no stockings, since I figured no one likes a sweaty reporter. Well, by the time I got out of the movie theater, it was so cold that I ran across the way to Net and bought a sweater that was on sale for NT$399. Thank goodness there are Nets all across Taipei and thank goodness they have regular sales on their crappily-made clothing (though, to be fair, the cropped knitted houndstooth zip-up cardigan I bought is kind of cute. I’ll enjoy it until it falls apart in the wash.).

While I was pulling my emergency cardigan on, I got to thinking about the different climates of the places where I’ve lived and how they have affected my mood. When I first moved to New York from northern California for college, I was so excited to finally live in a place with well-delineated seasons. Watching the leaves burst into shades of crimson and gold was wonderful, until they all fell off and turned into grayish-brown mulch on the sidewalks and in the gutters. Then winter hit. I’d never seen so much white in my life. I think I’d expected snowscapes like the ones on Christmas cards and in childrens’ book illustrations, not a solid, suffocating blanket of white and gray. The complete lack of color made me feel trapped and desperate for any kind of stimulation at all. The other students must have felt that way, too, because my campus was soon covered with snowmen, snowwomyn and obscenities written on snowbanks with orange and grape soda and what I hoped was lemon-flavored Gatorade.

My first winter in Taipei was almost as big of a shock. The sun did not come out for an entire month. I felt slow-witted, dull, and just as desperate as I had during winter of my freshman year in college. People always complain about the heat and humidity of Taiwan’s summers, but I think they are far preferable to winter in the north here. At least you see the sun, flowers are blooming, kids are out playing and being chased by swarms of mosquitoes all day keeps life interesting. It’s like being in “Run Lola Run” or “Speed.”

Having said that, I can’t wait for spring. It’s the middle of April! Come one, spring! 春天, you had better 到 soon!