Gratitude Challenge – #26 Weather

The Gratitude Challenge’s twenty-sixth topic is “Weather”.

Meditation teaches us to remain calm, to breath and to remember that even when there are clouds and many sorrows, the sun is always there, shining behind these clouds and eventually coming out again.

It can be difficult to remember this when difficulties seem to pile up higher and higher, but it’s true: Just as the sea has times of storm, of high waves and danger, just to be calm and pretty the next day, so does our life go through times of turmoil and drama, and then again though peaceful and fulfilled times.

What I notice though is that when it’s too peaceful, I subconsciously cause drama, because it feels familiar, my partner starts to interact more with me, I feel alive, there is a problem to solve. Being addicted to drama takes a toll on one’s mental and physical health.

Ok… thanks for sharing your seemingly self-aware thoughts, but wasn’t the idea to write about weather?

Ah yes, you are right. So, with a bit of a stretch: While weather does not solve my other issues, it is an important secondary factor, it either attenuates or exacerbates the prevailing mood.

When I lived in Thailand, every morning I woke up and thought “I’m so happy to be here”. So much sun, it’s warm, nature and animals abound. Sure enough, I was young and my work as an intern didn’t carry too much responsibility, which helps to feel at ease. But the conditions could have been the same, if the weather had been different, my mood would have affected considerably.

Living abroad, there’s a selection bias of particularly meeting people who are not very eager to live in their respective country of origin. For quite a while I thought I also don’t like Germany, I rejected many things typically “German”, I stayed away from fellow Germans, I felt pride when people told me I was “not very German”.

But the more I think about and feel these sensations, this is more about rejecting certain roots, while still appreciating many things in Germany. Equally, I enjoy making friends from many different countries, but speaking in my native language and interacting with Germans often still creates a strong sense of connection. Not with everyone of course, but that would be the case in any other country, too. You can’t be best friends with everyone.

I start to accept my nationality more and the cultural heritage that my upbringing carries. I start to be proud of some of these things instead of categorically rejecting everything German.

Yeah sure, good for you! But erm… weather?! Just say it already if you actually don’t want to write about it.

Ha! That’s what you wish! So! Weather!

What I can really not accept is German weather!

(I see what you are doing there, smartass…)

My preferred temperature is when the mercury rises beyond 30°C, so German summer is great. In fact, if there was eternal summer, Germany might well be the place to be. In Thailand, German colleagues told me that they missed the seasons, but I really don’t understand why I would miss taking out my winter clothes and freezing my whatever off.

Sure, autumn with its many colourful trees, spring with the scent of nature awakening, winter with everything covered in powdered sugar (or not anymore, thank you, climate change) – it’s all beautiful! But maybe one week each and for the remaining 49 weeks just beautiful summer. I can live with this kind of changing seasons.

This feeling of sadness when summer fades is by no means an individual one of course, but can be observed across cultures. In Mandarin for example, the expression for autumnal melancholy is 悲秋 – bēiqiū.

Looking at the countries I lived in, there is no doubt what is one of the main criteria I selected them: Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Taiwan… Ok, Japan is kind of an outlier, but still much more sunny and warm than Germany (as long as you didn’t suffer from mental derangement and moved to Hokkaido, that is).

There are drawbacks, though. As we say in German:

Keine Wirkung ohne Nebenwirkung

I couldn’t find the equivalent in English, but it translates to “no effect without side-effect”. In Mandarin they go even further and say:

是藥三分毒 – Shì yào sān fēn dú

So, in Mandarin, every medicine comes with three parts of poison already…

In terms of weather, my beloved hot weather in Taiwan unfortunately has the side effects that it’s so humid that I frequently get infections either on the skin or in my ear – something I never had to deal with before. In fact, I’m writing this on antibiotics, every bite hurting because of my inflamed ear…

So, should I move to somewhere warm but dry? It’s not that there wouldn’t be a choice. And now here comes the novelty: I listed several countries where I lived before and all of them where interesting, I learnt and enjoyed many things, but it felt temporary, if someone told me I needed to leave the next day I would be mostly ok with it.

But Taiwan is different. Practicing full commitment, I’m proud of myself that I can really do so. Sure, there are nuisances in Taiwan, too. But all in all, Taiwan is the best place I’ve been so far, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Of course, this might still change in the future, but for now I’m happy that I can keep my doubts and fears in check and fully commit to Taiwan and everything that comes with it.

I’m grateful that I gradually learn to commit to different things in life. To make decisions based on what feels right for me rather than looking for answers somewhere else. I’m grateful for being able to chose where I want to live and what I want to do there and hence to live in warm and sunny weather, close to sea and mountains, with wonderful people, food and culture. I’m grateful that I can live in a place where I can say with full conviction: I want to be exactly here and nowhere else.

This article was written by Fabian

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