Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mediterranean February - ¡No te abrigues!

I wasn't going to write about the weather.  It's the number one topic for mindless small talk.

"Oh, it's raining."
"Um, yes, it is raining."
"Do you think it will stop?"
"I'm sure it will stop soon."
"I hope so."
"Yeah, that would be nice."

Lame conversation, right?  For this reason, I decided not to write about the weather.  But it kept testing me.  The weather in Madrid is so far from what I'm used to, that the topic wouldn't leave me alone.

~The Mediterranean Version of February~

In Sevilla, the weather was so sunny that on February 18, 2012, we ate lunch outside by the river.  No snow.  No bone-chilling wind.  No shivering.  I put a quick reference to the weather in my Sevilla post, but figured that was plenty.

Two days ago, back in Madrid, I went for a two-hour stroll through el Parque del Retiro wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, and shoes.  It was the free t-shirt from the UAM, but the point is that I wasn't wearing a coat.  Back home, they just got hit with another snow storm.  They even had a snow day.  And I'm, well, you know, frolicking in the sun.  I thought about renting a rowboat for the afternoon on the non-frozen, artificial lake in the Retiro.  This really tempted me to write about the weather.  But no, there had to be something more interesting to say.  (Perhaps I should announce my upcoming trip to Prague?  Or the trip to el País Vasco?)
Check this out: The lake isn't frozen!
Parque del Retiro - Madrid 2/24/2012
Yesterday, I went grocery shopping as the sun was setting.  The air was pleasantly breezy at 64º F.  It felt like being at a beach, but without the beach.  But no, I still did not need to bore you with this.

Today, right now, on February 26, 2012, I am lazily eating breakfast outside on my balcony and catching some sun.  It's probably about 70º F.  I'm wearing flip flops, my feet are up, and I'm slicing brie to put on mini-crackers.  Every so often, there's a calm breeze.  This is the life.  Third time's a charm.  Gotta write about it.

Truly, it has been lovely reading about how various parts of the world have gotten hit with snow storms this season.  I'm quite detached from it all.  My favorite was when "all" of Europe suffered sub-zero temperatures and got covered in piles of snow.  Oh please, all of Europe?  Not Spain!  It's nearly always sunny here.  I love it.  I was meant to live in this type of climate.

The really special part about all of this is that everywhere I've gone in Madrid this weekend, I have still seen women in fur coats and leather boots.  Están abrigadas, and I, the person who is nearly always cold, am in a t-shirt.


Now that you understand how glorious this February has been in Spain, I'd like to introduce your to a phrase that makes me smile: ¡Abrígate!  The English equivalent would be something like "Bundle up!"

This "winter" in Madrid, as I have been about to go outside, many people have said, "abrígate," to me, because it's "so cold and awful" outside.  How people can talk about the freezing weather when the temperature (º F) is both a positive, double digit number and several degrees above freezing, is beyond me.  There were a few chilly days back in December and January, but they were refreshing and brisk, not chilling-to-the-core.

Being from a cold place, abrígate, to me, means to put on extra wool socks, waterproof snow boots, leg warmers under your jeans, multiple wool sweaters, waterproof gloves, a big scarf, a hat that covers your ears, and an enormous North Face down coat - hood on, drawstring pulled.  If I had done all of that on the coldest day in Madrid this year, I probably would have gotten heat stroke.

I admit that I wore my giant North Face a few times this season, but that was only because it's like a Dana-shaped blanket.  Yes, it can be chilly in the early morning here, but never chilly enough to bother zipping that coat.  I brought my winter coat to Spain this year so that I wouldn't be cold on my weekend trips to places like Oslo.  I will be the first to confess that I am a winter-wimp, but this is not winter, and I will certainly not be abrigándome any time soon.

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