Subtle Differences (Weather Edition)

So, in the not-quite-month since I’ve been here, I’ve discovered that New York is almost nothing like Arizona. The title of this post is a little misleading, because some of these differences are not really all that subtle at all. Also, it’s going to become terribly, blatantly obvious that I’ve essentially spent my entire life in Arizona, and the only bits I remember other than that, are from Nevada, which isn’t really all that different from Phoenix.  I’m still amazed that, despite remaining in the same country, I’m still experiencing (very minor) culture shock.

First of all, and perhaps most obviously, the weather here is different. It’s mid-September. The weather back home is still decidedly “summer”.  The highs are and will continue to be over 100º for at least the next several weeks. Probably until Halloween. Meanwhile, our “highs” are dropping into the 60’s. Which, by my definitions, means that winter has come.

On top of the fact that it’s significantly colder here than I’m used to, precipitation is a thing that happens fairly regularly here. From my experience in the desert, if the forecast says it will rain, unless there is currently water falling from the sky, it’s safe to assume you’re not going to get wet.  However, apparently, that’s not the case when you are no longer in the desert. In New York, if the forecast says it will rain, you had best bring an umbrella, or just plan to get wet.

After it’s finished raining, sometimes the sun will come out. This does not, however, mean that the ground will be dry. It can take hours or even days for the water to finish evaporating. This also means that if your clothing/hair gets wet, it will remain wet for a while, unless you take some sort of action to dry it off. Related to this is the fact that if you stand underneath a tree, and the wind blows, there’s a very high likelihood that water will fall on your head. Other people laugh at you when you are surprised by the fact that you’re suddenly wet.

Big buildings also lead to not-so-subtle differences. For example, there is a very brief time period in which you can experience direct sunlight while on the sidewalk. During most of that time, I’m in class. My window faces north, which means that I need to use quite a bit of artificial light, even during the day, as the sun is at the wrong angle, and the other buildings are providing shade.

I realize that the last several days have been rather wet in Arizona, partly because people keep posting about it on Facebook. The only reason anyone mentioned the storm here last night was to explain that the outdoor mixer’s location was changed to accommodate the weather. People didn’t immediately drop what they were doing to play in the rain, and no one seems particularly happy or excited when it does rain.

Fortunately, haboobs don’t exist here. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to explain dust storms to people who have never experienced one. Especially when they’re called “haboobs”. I’m pretty sure my classmates thought I was making that up.

I’m sure that the coming months will bring more (not at all subtle) differences between AZ and NY to my attention. I’m really looking forward to experiencing seasons, even if I’m not looking forward to freezing temperatures.

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