Winter in the Desert: What to Expect

I write to you, dear reader, from the dead of winter in the desert.

It’s the end of December and in a few days we will welcome in the New Year. These are the months I’ve been waiting for and dreaming of all through last spring and the heat of summer when it was scorching hot outside. How does winter in the desert live up to my expectations?

“Being where you are, you’ll actually get cold weather, so you’re lucky,” my friend who lives in Muscat told me all summer.

Well, really? The day after Christmas I returned home from the UAE with Reeses’ chocolate in the shapes of little Christmas nutcrackers in my car. I left them there overnight, went to work and forgot about them. The thermostat climbed to over 30 that day and now they’re all melted and misshapen, which has really slowed down the binge eating process I must admit. Synopsis? Chocolate still melts in the car here, even in December.

As I write, it’s almost 7pm and it is 75f or 24c according to my phone. Feels like it, too. I’ve been in the desert long enough for this to feel cool, but not long enough to be deluded into thinking that this is real winter weather. It’s much colder right now in Hong Kong, near where I used to teach.

So winter in the desert isn’t as cold as I had dreamed it would be. When I wake up super early, it might be in the low 60’s or high 50’s. I usually still keep the AC going in my bedroom because I like it cool. Sometimes I keep the AC on in other rooms on.

It’s warm enough for me to break a sweat if I’m running around the school grounds stressing out over end of year paperwork, which happens. It’s warm enough to melt chocolate in cars. It’s warm enough that in early December when I was in Muscat last and the barista at Starbucks asked me casually if I wanted my drink hot or iced, I looked longingly at the red cups and ordered my drink iced.

Winter in the desert doesn’t feel like winter. I honestly have no idea why I packed hoodies. Even the long kimonos I layer over my short sleeved shirts to make my clothing halal make me hot when I’m in the office.

Pack accordingly.

Also, I haven’t seen a camel in months. Did we eat them all?

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