07 June 2012

I'm Just Upside Down

In a digital world, the distinctions between the northern and southern hemispheres are brought into focus. Back when I was growing up, I'd never been overseas, and I could happily watch television series three years old without worrying about spoilers. Having British grandparents I learned some Northern cultural traditions (like tartan and reels), but I never really had to pay attention to the seasonal timings of life on the other side of the world.

It was only when I began to write stories set in England that I had to shift my mindset, particularly around the seasons, and also having to think about plants and animals that don't exist in my part of the world. It's a constant effort to remember whether it will be hot or cold, and it was a surprise to learn that the Season was actually in late spring rather than winter.

It was only when I was in Europe this year, ending a few weeks before Easter, that the penny dropped regarding the significance of the timing of some festivals in the northern hemisphere. It's autumn for Easter here. Seeing early spring in Europe, I finally connected new life = spring = Easter. Previously having eggs for Easter didn't make any sense, but too yummy to question. Now it makes sense to me, with the whole spring/new life thing.

It also occurred to me that Christmas breaks up the cold season nicely in the north. For us it's the beginning of the summer holidays (meaning time off, although I always try to work as much as possible in order to have a holiday when the kids are back at school in late January/February). We have a few other public holidays over the coming months, and we just had Queen's birthday... and now we have no more free days until Labour Day at the end of October. That means the whole winter without any national time off or festivals of any kind.... nothing to look forward to. If you can afford to, you either indulge in snow sports or a holiday to the sun in Australia or the Pacific Islands. Otherwise you just hunker down and wait for the cold to pass. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, how ironic) is common.

Anyway, I just thought I would share some observations about living down under. And who's to say we are upside down... maybe the earth is the other way around!

The title of this blog was inspired by this song... enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting observation, Charlotte! I never thought about how that would be different for writers on the opposite site of the world.