On Switching Hemispheres

Any move brings with it plenty of adjustments, and our move to Zambia is of course no exception. One thing we are finding particularly awkward is thinking about seasons! We left Iowa in October, which was still fairly warm, but definitely sliding into “Iowa fall” and cooler temperatures. Arriving in Zambia (still in October) however, we found very hot, very dry weather – “Zambia summer” and it stayed hot well into January, although eventually the rains brought first some relief and then an amazing explosion of green everywhere we looked. By March, which is when the first set of pictures below were taken, it felt kind of like “Iowa spring” (even though we’d just come out of hot weather, not snowy cold), because of all the lush new growth. I guess this is what “Zambia fall” is like? Then the evenings started to be noticeably cooler, and by the end of April, outdoor swimming wasn’t so appealing at least in Lusaka. Elsewhere in Zambia, at lower elevations, it was still quite warm, and we really enjoyed late May swimming when we were in the Lower Zambezi area. In June and July, we found we wanted a blanket at night and turned the fans off, although we certainly didn’t feel the need for the wooly hats and puffy jackets that we’ve seen many of our Zambian neighbors sporting this time of year. We just could not bring our snow and ice loving hearts to say “winter,” but some people do refer to the cooler dry season that way. Weather and tolerance of temperature is one of those things where “it’s all relative” does apply!

Slideshow 1 – March 2022
Our backyard, on a walk nearby, and driving south of Lusaka.

Here we are at the end of August, and most of the blankets have been put away. Although we’ve heard Zambians saying things like “springtime” for our current season, things are not getting greener like we would expect back in “Iowa spring” – it hasn’t rained for several months and won’t for a couple more yet. It is usually clear and sunny, and everything is dusty, inside and outside. It’s almost surprising to see that you can still have something of a productive garden in the dry season, at least the early part when it’s cooler. For sure this involves some watering, but we have also realized there’s been a fairly heavy dew many mornings, and that must help. As we move into “hot and dry” again, we’ll have to see what happens with our planting efforts.
Adding a little more confusion as we adjust our Iowa connotations to what the seasons and months of the year bring in Zambia are the school calendars. Justo Mwale, where Ryan is teaching, runs their school year on the Jan-Dec calendar. We have more or less kept our homeschool calendar close to what we were used to in North America, but now it feels strange to say “this fall” as we look at starting up a new year of school in September! We kind of feel like we’re just going to quit referring to time of year by season at all, and take the weather as it comes. Maybe this will help adjust our expectations or assumptions, or at least a reduce confusion a little? Even 10 months into our time in Zambia, we often feel quite new, and not sure what to expect. But there are also times when we aren’t surprised by the traffic or the pot holes, and we are recognized by the banana seller or the guard at a gate, and we return from a really wonderful trip, thinking “it’s good to be home.”

Slideshow 2 – August 2022
Hikes in a forest reserve in Lusaka

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