Two days ago it was the 21st of June. It’s the longest day of the year, when your are on the northern hemisphere (like me at the moment), and the shortest day of the year when you are on the southern part of the world, for example in my home from home country South Africa. It’s the start of summer above the equator and the start of winter below. In countries as Sweden, Denmark, France and the Netherlands (where I am now) they organise many midsummer festivals and parties during these days and weeks of the year. In most parts of Europe, for example France or Italy, the sun will rise somewhere between 5.30-6.00 and the sun will set in the evening somewhere between 21.45-22.15. Hours and hours of sunlight, I love it! Bad for my sleeping habits, though. In countries as Sweden and Norway it stays light almost the whole night. It just doesn’t get completely dark! Or for a very short period of time. So confusing! And during European winter these are the areas of the world it stays dark almost the whole day! People do get seriously depressed because of the lack for daylight (no joke) during months like November, December and January.
As I am in Europe now – to travel, taste, experience and discover new places out here, I enjoy the sunlight from about 5.30 until 22.15 at the moment. And I really love these long summer days, when everybody after work rushes to the big city squares for drinks and snacks, or soak up the sun and go for a swim at the beach, or they jump on their road bikes to do some evening exercise, finish off with a cold beer. The children play outside on the streets until late, neighbours will have a glass of wine together, there is a happy vibe, hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, drinks get colder, music gets louder, life gets better. This time of the year on the northern hemisphere is a time I can really appreciate and enjoy. Whether you are in Spain, Norway, England or Canada, and you do like the sun; it’s great.
And then I think about South Africa…. Where it is winter in full swing, short days, long, dark, cold nights. Freezing mornings but also cozy afternoons! On the 21st of June the southern hemisphere had the shortest day of the year. But, although the days are short now, I really think in South Africa it actually is not bad when one talks about sunrise and sunset – and average hours of daylight: the differences during the year are not too big. In summer it will be light around 5.30-6 o’clock, and the sun will set somewhere between 19.30-20.15, depending if you are in the Cape or more in the Northern part of the country, closer to the equator. While during winter time it is only light around 8.00-8.30 in the morning and already dark somewhere between 17.00 and 17.45, depending where you are. But the difference is not as big as in countries as Norway, Canada or Russia. That definitely would not be for me! I can’t handle days which actually feel more like nights. In South Africa we are lucky to have even in winter time crisp, bright, sunny days – shorter, yes definitely, but at least it will get completely light.
In the end I think we should all try and live our own, happy, thankful lives. Whether it’s in South Africa, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Vietnam or Croatia. Daylight is a gift, but darkness is too. Nobody would appreciate the stars and the moon as much as we actually do when there weren’t dark nights. And during winter time in South Africa I find it so pleasant to make a fire in the afternoon, light all the candles, make a hearty soup, risotto, apple pie or stew, open a bottle of red wine and have your loved ones close by. Also, I realise I live a very privileged live, with electricity, warm blankets, enough food, a safe place, sweet people around me. The possibility to travel! I wish more people could live a simple, safe and happy life. Before I;ll get all emotional – which wasn’t the intention when I start writing this blogpost – I woud like to take this moment to embrace and thank the sun, daylight, happiness of summer, but also appreciate the cozy winter days you have now at the other side of the world. Because how much I enjoy Europe in summer, I truly miss South Africa already!
Until next time.