Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goodbye Summer

Autumn has arrived with a bang here in Tirana- literally.  Friday night a series of thunderstorms rolled through.  I can now attest to the fact that when you live in a concrete house, thunder sounds like an explosion.  I thought living under the flight path of National Airport was loud but the sound of the thunder rolling off of the mountains was even more unsettling.  Friday night's thunderstorms evolved into a Saturday filled with soaking rain.  Yes, we need the rain since there has only been one rainy afternoon since we arrived in June but why did it have to fall on a Saturday that had been filled with outdoor plans?

September had been filled with cooler mornings and evenings that turned into the typical hot, sun filled afternoons.  The calendar may have said fall but the weather certainly didn't feel that way.  I spent the month looking longingly at pictures of apple picking and hayrides posted by friends on Facebook and wondered when my favorite season would arrive in Tirana.  Yes, the daylight was disappearing-  mornings and evenings were darker but the weather remained deceptively summer like.  I wondered if, or when, I would be able to break out my sweaters.

I no longer have to wonder about this.  The sun rose on Sunday morning and the air had a definite chill to it.  A chill that did not disappear as noon approached.  Actually, I dare say it is now cool. The air lacks that New England fall crispness but the seasons have definitely changed.  (I think the air is different since we don't have the changing leaves).   To celebrate, I conducted my semi-annual clothing switch-out.  It has become a tradition for Glenn to roll his eyes as I put away my light and airy summer tops and replace them with my wool sweaters that I have lugged out of the basement. Men just don't seem to understand this ritual.  (I've told Glenn that if he builds me a bigger closet I might not need to do this).  Because of the clothing switch I get to pretend that I have an all new wardrobe! This year amidst the switch-out I even found my stash of cocktail napkins and a wine opener at the bottom of a tub of sweaters! Those sneaky packers must have been trying to make use of every inch of space.  Their thriftiness had left me thinking I was going crazy.  

We're also succumbed to turning on the heat in the house.  Another joy of living in a concrete and marble house is that when it is cool outside, it becomes very cold in the house.  Yes, I know it is only October and the frugal New Englander in me shudders at the thought of turning on the heat this early in the year, but I just couldn't take it. The floors seem to conduct a cold that socks do not stop. Without central heat we've had to adjust the heater in each and every room (except the bathrooms which do not have any heat!) to take the chill off and we are now in the process of figuring out the right temperature setting for each room. We've even hauled out the space heater for the bathroom that I scoffed at buying back in June.

Everything seems to be colder all of a sudden.  What had seemed like an endless supply of hot water (when we had water) has now diminished into doses so small we can't take two consecutive showers.  Since our water is stored in a big tank in our backyard, the sun had been pre-heating it all summer long. Now that the strength of the sun has faded, so has our hot water supply.  Let me just say that cold showers in a cold bathroom are  now a fun way to start one's day.

So, yes, fall is finally here in Tirana and I am excited.  I'm determined to enjoy a much of it as I can since I know the true rainy season will soon be upon us.  To celebrate fall, I'm going to find myself my a pumpkin (harder to do than one would think) and start baking up a storm....that's my other autumn ritual.

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