Chileans have this saying: “Pasamos Agosto.” We lived through, or passed, August. The saying goes that if you live through August, it means you’ll live a whole other year. That’s something to get excited about, right?
When I first moved here I was still stuck on what each month meant in terms of the Northern Hemisphere. August was back-to-school month. It marked the end of summer. It was when, in San Francisco at least, the weather improved and summer really started. What was the big deal about August and why were Chileans so “relieved” and happy that it was over?
Five years later (and a terrible 2014 thus far) I get it.
In Chile, the months ranging from March to August are rather dreadful, really. January and February are officially summer months. That means many things, including less smog in our lungs (the heat rises and carries all dirt and grit above our noses so that we aren’t directly breathing it in) and lighter traffic as families plan their typical two week’s vacation between these two months, it means the roads are far less stressful and the commuting times are lessened. Children aren’t straddled and choked in school uniforms and are, instead, running free, enjoying themselves and laughing. The sun shines every day and with the sun, happiness and optimism tends to run rampant.
Naturally, then, March through August are the complete opposite. Days are dreary, either with overcast or rain, but mostly just overcast. This means that the pollution that penetrates every fiber of this city is actually sitting down low at nose-level. This leads to not only shivering bodies because of the brisk weather but also respiratory illnesses that come and go all winter long (product of the smog we’re constantly inhaling.) The streets are jam-packed with cars, honking like jerk offs and driving like the monkeys in “Jumanji.” The days are short, with sunset anywhere between 6:00-6:30 pm… that leaves a huge window of opportunity for petty (and major) crime because with the sun gone, the anti-socials find the guts and the means to scare us silly. Kids are in school, bored, tormented, wishing for summer vacation.
August is the very last month of this dastardly torture. If you lived through all the previous months, still breathing and still going, you have it made because next month is September and September marks the beginning of happiness of all Chileans.
September brings us Chilean Independence Day and this means three-to-four days off just to party. “Yay, we aren’t linked to those crazy Spaniards!” September is met with relief, optimism, excitement and the thrill that comes with planning any mini-vacay, no matter the destination (down the street or the Caribbean.) After that, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to December, which brings us Christmas and New Year’s (more festivities) and then yipppeeeeeeee, January and February – vacay months! In between we have longer days (sunset around 8:00 – 8:30 pm) and warmer weather, all which makes us as happy as little girls!
For personal reasons, I just can’t WAIT to get through August. I truly believe that once August is over, my own personal version of 2014 will drastically improve. Call me crazy, but I honestly have a gut feeling about this. After breaking my nose almost three weeks ago due to a crazy, split-second decision that involved me lunging after Obi to take something away from him, which resulted in my crashing directly into a cement pot with my nose, I decided that was the bottom of the barrel this year.
Between surviving the most agonizing, bully-infested, confidence-busting, professional experience of my life, to finding out and coping with the fact that my beloved pet is epileptic, to failing over and over again at landing interviews between endless job applications (and when I did manage an interview, failing miserably at landing the actual job!), I proceeded to break my nose …. after that, I decided, quote boldly, really, that THAT was it. August was the end of it. In fact, August was going to be the transition month – the month when things were manageable, even if they weren’t amazing or even great.
But come September…. the world is mine.
Or at least, the tides will have turned in my favor. Just you wait.