Australian Summer Days

Everyone knows how difficult Australian summer can be. Even down south in Melbourne, the summers are unbearable some days. It was the number one thing people told me when I moved here from Scotland: “make sure you rent a place with air conditioning”. I didn’t listen to them.

I thought I could take hot days, 40 degrees after all sounded bod but really how horrible could it be. It was like for a moment or so as I chose when I was going to live, I forgot that Scotland barely has days in summer that go above 20 degrees. It was like I forgot what other parts of the world were like completely.

I arrived in December, another big mistake. I’m not going to lie to you; I had never experienced sweating through my shirt within ten minutes of sitting outside at a café. It’s a sensation I truly never want to experience again.

Living without air conditioning in Melbourne changed my life in a few ways. I shaved my beard off (I considered shaving all the hair on my head off as well), I bought three portable fans from Kmart, I became able to sleep on my tiled kitchen floor (it was the coolest room in the apartment), and I learned to love shopping centres purely because they were like walking into an enormous fridge.

Call me dramatic, but I started to feel like the summer would never end. It dragged on and on, the heat would dissipate for a few days before coming back with a vengeance, all the way through to March. Finally in March it started to cool down, the breeze no longer felt like hot air rushing out of an oven, but more like cool air coming in off the sea.

Spring in Melbourne is like a Scottish summer. And I started to feel right at home. When winter rolled into Melbourne like fog, people’s attitudes changed drastically. As soon as the temperature dropped below 15 degrees or so, people had busted out their winter coats, and suddenly I had the advantage.

Scottish winters are brutal. It’s not unusual for it to drop below zero degrees, certainly where I come from up north. The coldest it every got during my first Melbourne winter was 5 degrees Celsius. I was ecstatic to say the least. To be frank, it was winter that made me remember why I wanted to move to Australia so badly. Having an extreme summer would always be bearable when you don’t have to contend with snow.