Spring seems to have sprung this week in Santiago. The sky has morphed from cloud-covered grey to pristine blue. Chingy and Kubi now spend afternoons sprawling themselves on the sun-kissed patio instead of stealing my blankets on the couch to warm themselves. My hairless head doesn´t scream out in terror when it emerges from the steaming hot shower to find freezing cold temperatures in the house. Temperatures have been in the high 70´s during the afternoon now, and I have made a concerted effort to place myself in the way of the sun´s rays every day. With the arrival of spring, my mood and my energy level seems to have risen as well. This non-winter weather almost makes me want to run and spin about in alpine meadows singing, “The Hills are Alive”. But I don´t own a nun´s habit and the nearby Andes with their tip tops covered in snow might put Julie Andrews´s hills to shame.
I´m not going to lie. I haven´t been feeling so great this past month. I once did a college research project on Seasonal Affect Disorder and am entirely certain that it´s a real thing and I have it BAD. Those of you who live in grey, wintery conditions most of the year, I have no idea how you do it! In the mornings I´ve barely been able to lift myself from my prone position in bed to say goodbye to Jon, the dogs groaning and flipping over on their backs to catch some more z´s after their morning walk. When I finally was able to drag myself to the couch and take my pills with a bite of banana or cereal, I wrapped myself in a fuzzy blanket and did some serious binge watching on Netflix. (By the way, that feature on Netflix where the episodes of the show keep playing unless you actively press the remote and stop them from appearing is both genius and the worst thing ever.) Showers seemed like so much effort, that sometimes I just didn´t get around to it, although I knew it would make me feel better. Anything appearing on the calendar seemed more like a prison sentence then an event to look forward to. Basically, I was against anything that required an ounce of energy at all. I also felt extremely nauseous. And for a person who loves food and cooking, this was complete torture. Whenever your doctor tells you that you need to wean yourself off the drugs they give you, it means that the drugs are very strong and your body will become dependent on them in some way. During my period of withdrawal, I felt very sick in the morning, and my heightened senses made me want to vomit at the sight or smell of anything edible. I´m sure those of you ladies who had violent morning sickness during pregnancy can relate.
But luckily, with this new, warmer weather, I have felt more like my normal self. This weekend, Jon and I participated in the annual Scottish Caledonian Ball in which Scottish-Chileans don kilts and hop around to organized dance routines with names like the “Gay Gordon”. What: you aren´t sold yet? Well, there is also a good deal of bagpipe playing, a whiskey bar, and a served dinner. Nido usually has one or two tables of participants and our eight-some had a blast chatting with each other and skipping and hopping to the music. We had only practiced as a group twice, but we did a pretty good job of remembering the steps. And in between ¨The Waverly¨ and the ¨Dancing White Sergeants” we gladly showed off our hip dance moves and enviable singing chops to 70´s disco tunes and the medley from Grease. Although the pictures that I did not buy indicated that I looked a lot puffier than I thought I did in my dress (NOT fishing for compliments, just telling the truth through my eyes), I was at least able to make myself look respectable at a dress-up event. And Jon and I had such a good time. I can´t remember the last time I smiled and laughed so much, even while dancing on a painful sprained foot. It was glorious! (The white wine that flowed freely into my glass for the first time since I had been diagnosed helped to ease the foot pain.)
As those of you in the Northern hemisphere ease out of summer into fall, I´m sure birds chirping and springtime flowers probably isn´t the most fun thing to hear about. But I have spent several months trapped indoors in my sweats due to fatigue, rain, and poor, poor, air quality, while watching pictures of sand and sun and summertime fun appear on my Facebook feed. It´s time for me to join in the fun. Ya llego la primavera!