For the majority of my life I’ve lived in Texas, where heat is eternal and pea coats are simply frivolous. October 1st is just another date in the midst of sweltering summer humidity and people drink pumpkin spice lattes inside air-conditioned homes to keep up the pretense of autumn.
Ireland is different. Sweater weather announced itself assertively on the first of the month, and Boots converted its entire upper floor into Santa’s workshop “just in time” for Christmas. Lattes are necessary for me to keep warm and I revel in seeing shades of crimson and gold laced into the ivy crawling across the Quad.
The changing of the leaves brings more than a crunch underfoot. Autumn itself is an oxymoron of cool warmth. Strolls in the morning chill are encouraged but cozy chats by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa are undeniably necessary.
However, autumn also brings with it some minor tribulations, which until now I had not often encountered.
- Dressing in layers doesn’t work. My day-to-day “getting ready” resembles that scene from “A Christmas Story” (you know the one). By the time I’ve covered the extensive ground between my house and the distant building where all my classes are held, I’m sweating profusely. Commence the awkward stripping off process. The best part is guessing what the state of my hair will be when the beanie comes off.
- Wet hair is a no-no. Coming from a family where we seemingly never got sick – or at least not ill enough to merit a visit to the doctor’s office – I’ve convinced myself of my own invincibility to the common cold. Until now. I’ve always cherished my 5-minute morning routine after hopping out of the shower, but now have to face the wrath of my housemates and the insults of my hairdresser by gradually blow-drying my hair to straw every morning.
- Sunshine becomes a precious commodity. Suddenly, I find myself longing for the sun I despised so much in Texas to swing by the other side of the world. The days get shorter and shorter until it becomes quite difficult to find real reasons not to sleep all day. Until you remember that you’re here to get a degree.
Autumn is beautiful, but is it worth these hassles?