It is October. At least, that is what the calendar says. Here in Papua, Indonesia, however, it is screaming, “July!”—a hot, humid, tropical, ain’t-no-such-thing-as-fall “July!”
The end of September launches an annual time of seasonal delusional disorder (SDD) that affects ex-patriates hailing from temperate climates who are now finding themselves in perpetual summer.
The first stage of SDD is Realization. The sufferer notices the increase of Facebook posts such as, “So excited to see pumpkin-spice lattes again!” and, “Enjoyed watching Ole Miss whoop up on Boise State!” and, “Can’t believe this chilly weather! Brrr!” Then, there are the photos of gorgeous golden- and orange-leafed trees. Pumpkin, football, and autumn leaves—none of it is happening here at the equator. That is when Realization dawns: it is autumn somewhere in the world.
The next stage is Denial. The sufferer denies that fall is not coming by setting out a fake pumpkin, hanging a fall-inspired wreath on the door, lighting a scented candle, or whipping up pumpkin-spice creamer for her coffee. She thinks that if she creates enough autumn ambiance, it might actually, magically, become fall.
The Denial stage is quickly followed by the Frustration stage. The sufferer realizes that no matter how much she may wish it, the leaves of the mango tree will stay maddeningly green all year round. Temperatures will stay in the mid-80s from now until eternity.
The final stage of SDD is Acceptance. This is where the sufferer finally admits, “I live in the tropics. I get summer in perpetuity. There will be no fall, no winter, and no spring. One month will melt into the next without any discernible change.”
So what is one who suffers from SDD to do? I suggest therapy in the form of celebrating the seasons of the local climate. There is Rainy Season, which could perhaps be celebrated by buying everyone new umbrellas. We could decorate our homes with large, fake mosquitoes and watch Singin’ in the Rain together. Windy Season could be heralded with a kite-flying contest.
Now I am off to Google SDD and see if it actually exists. Then I will head over to Pinterest and see if there is a board on how to make a paper-mache mosquito.
Happy fall, y’all.
Question to consider: What are some ways you could celebrate the seasons where you live?
About the author
Natalie and her husband David serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Indonesia. They are smack dab in the middle of the family years, with four children ranging in age from 9 to 17. Natalie and her family started out on a tiny island off the coast of Borneo, and after 10 years there moved to the world’s largest tropical island, where they have lived for the past 3 ½ years in the province of West Papua. An avid reader, Natalie enjoys being outdoors, hanging out with her family and friends, exploring new places, and watching British drama. She’s done stints as a newspaper reporter, high school English teacher, and mentor for young married couples.View all articles by: Natalie Holsten
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