Missing four seasons; not only a weather ‘thing’

01. Four seasons

Shannon wrote a great article on Wanderlust the other day (read it here), about what she – an American Expat living in Thailand – misses about autumn. It might seem strange to people living in any cold country, but having sunshine and 30 degrees Celsius weather the whole year round can get very boring. Since the past 7 years I have experienced 2 seasons every year – hot & dry (wet season) or hot & wet (rainy season). The sun, the sea and the beach give super pretty pictures on Instagram – I know that – but I do miss the change in weather, and I even start to miss the rainy cold days in Holland. Sometimes I even get a little jealous when friends start to post pictures about the changing colours of the trees – even if it is accompanied by a note stating that they are not looking forward to the colder weather.

Autumn is here and so many of the holidays are around the corner, but besides that there are plenty of other things I miss about the upcoming autumn seasons back home. Here is my top 8 – in random order:

1. Wardrobes filled with clothes for every season:

owh how I miss changing from my summer wardrobe to a winter wardrobe. Every year you have a legitimate reason to buy new clothes that fit the season. Changing colours, style and the always comfy scarves to wear with them. Here not so much – whole year round its sunny clothes, so there is no real need to go through you clothes and shift the summer clothes for a winter closet.

And then I have not even started talking about the shoes… The endless possibilities of buying shoes for each season, and the boots… I think I miss wearing my boots the most!

2. Sinterklaas:

02. Sinterklaas‘Sinterklaas’ is a Dutch holiday celebrated on the 5th of December but starts as of the moment ‘Sinterklaas’ arrives in Holland. Although he looks a bit like Father Christmas or Santa Claus, ‘Sinterklaas’ (Saint Nicholas) is a very Dutch character loved by children and adults alike. His annual arrival and the traditional festivities that follow are a real treat!
Early autumn shops start being filled with special candy and food. Kids start getting excited and the whole month before the 5th (once the Sint has arrived in Holland) they are allowed to put their shoes at the chimney. If they have been good, sang a song or made a drawing for the Sint and his helpers and a carrot for the horse, they will receive a little gift in their shoe. I miss the entire season, which is filled with shopping for gifts for family and friends. Last year I celebrated it at home and my nephew and niece were so excited about seeing Sinterklaas and (off course) receiving their gifts. It was so precious seeing them.

3. Hot Chocolate milk with whipped cream:

03. ChocomelA fairly standard Dutch drink for cold autumn days. After being out the entire day in the cold to do some shopping, its a great treat to walk into a cafe and order a hot chocolate milk with whipped cream. Seeing the whipped cream slowly dissolving into the hot chocolate. Delicious! Best part is when you get a nice cookie to go along with it, dunking it in the hot chocolate milk and scooping out the whipped cream. YUM!

4. Ever changing trees and flowers:

04. HerfstThe ever changing colours of the trees in Holland is such a great thing to see. Trees change from green, to yellow, to red and start falling off when they are brown. And the flowers, with a different type of flower blooming in each season. Starting to plant the tulip bulbs in winter and watching them slowly come out of the ground – its magical…
I have to say that we now are experiencing some awesome greenery and flowers in Phuket, as the rain has given them enough water to start blooming! But its different still, as it’s mostly green, the only change is whether there is a flower in the plant, or no flowers at all…

5. The smell of a new season:

With a change in season comes a change in smell. Yes a change in smell – different flowers bloom, different smells come out. I love it when the rain is coming and the smell after it is finished, especially in autumn time this can be such a sensation…
It strange but here in Phuket I don’t really smell anything except for the strange gutter smell that seems to be everywhere now and then. We live at the sea, but I can rarely smell it. In Scheveningen (a suburb of The Hague/ Den Haag) I lived about a kilometer away from the sea, but often you could smell the lovely salty air from my house. I really do miss that…

6. A nice evening in:

05. BankhangenOften with bad weather in Holland, I would huddle up on the couch have the fireplace on {if we would have one}, and watch a couple of movies with a warm blanket wrapped around me, preferably with Ruben sitting next to me. Once in a while getting up to have a cup of tea with a ‘stroopwafel’ {a lovely Dutch waffle with caramel in between} that is being warmed up on the top of the cup of tea.
I have to say, once in a while I crank up the airconditioning at home (making it super cold in the living room) and just watch a movie under a blanket. I am not sure whether this is to simulate the cold weather back home, but it just happens and I love it…

7. Scarfs:

06. SjaalsIf I open my suitcase with winter clothes {you know the one filled with clothes that are super outdated, as you never ever have to wear any of them, and you don’t want to buy a new winter wardrobe every time you go back home for two weeks} I find millions {really I’m not exaggerating} scarves. I love me some scarves… They are so soft, colourful and can alter an outfit.
I keep buying them here in Asia, even though I know I will not really need them. Although I do always carry a scarf along with me so that once we’re in a cold shopping mall, I can wear it. I wish I could wear them all the time tho…

8. Stamppot:

07. StamppotThe Dutch are not really famous for their cuisine, except for maybe our fried goods such as bitterballen, frikandellen and fries with mayonaise. However we do have our own style of dinner, famous for eating potatoes, meat and vegetables every evening. In wintertime we like to mix it all up – literally – by making stampot. Stampot is made of mashed potato mixed with any kind of (usually real Dutch) vegetable, for instance mashed potatoes with carrot and onions, or with boerenkool (a kind of kale you will only find in the shelves in Holland at winter time), or even with rocket salad. They are usually accompanied with gravy, bacon, a fresh sausage from the butcher, or ‘rookworst’ (a kind of smoked sausage that is boiled in water before eating it).
I have once made Boerenkool at home in Singapore – my mom brought a bag along when she visited us – but it’s just not the same. This is a kind of food that you have to eat while it’s cold outside, not with 30 degrees Celsius…

This list made me more homesick than ever… Having four seasons is not only the change of weather, as you can see there is so much more to it. What do you miss most about the weather back home?

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