Martin Bril famously described it: ‘rokjesdag’ (skirts day). The day (Dutch) women wear skirts for the first time of the year. On this day, often in early spring, people, en masse, run to the beaches and wear their most summery clothes. If you would take a picture on such a day, you would think that it was at least 30 degrees. But actually, this day was the first ‘bearable’ day of the year, the first one with some sunshine, just warm enough to be outside without a coat. Probably fifteen degrees.
Everybody in the Netherlands recognises this day, and I think most people realise it's a bit ridiculous. But it’s understandable, this eagerness for summer, after a long and dark winter.
So it’s actually even less surprising that the same thing happens here in Canada. A couple of weeks ago, Kingston looked like summer. Everybody was out barbecuing. It was 4 degrees. But although I do understand that it’s been a long and cold winter, and I want to get my flip-flops out as well, I don’t see how that can be comfortable when there’s still snow outside. Or why the air-conditioning in the library has to be turned on when it’s above zero. But maybe I’m just not Canadian enough.
I know that there will be a moment when the average temperature will be higher than in Netherlands. Canadian summers are great, I’ve been told way too often. But for now, it just rains. Just like home.
Name: Floortje Rawee (21)
Study: second-year UCM-student
Goes to: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
From: 3 January until the end of May