In my high school days in Uganda, we always loved the vibe that comes with summertime songs like ‘summertime’ by Vbyz Kartel and ‘Party in the USA’, Miley Cyrus. Back then, I did not know why these songs possess such a happy vibe that just made you want to party all day. Though I knew what summer was, I had never experienced it partly because it is always summer in Uganda, and where is the fun in that if you are going to have it all the time. However, I got a feel of the summer recently when Jönköping woke up to 26 degrees a few weeks ago.
Coming from a country with a “record low” of twenty degrees Celsius, seasons are not a big deal to us. The months in my country enjoy an equal amount of sunshine and daylight, with the exception of November which is supposed to give us huge amounts of rain. So, we do not prepare for the winter or darkness like is the case in most of Europe. Rather in the months when the Swedes are preparing for snow, my countrymen and women prepare and enjoy the wait for grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers.
From November to February (basically winter) in Uganda, is what we call “grasshopper season” because the huge amounts of rain lead to rapid birth and growth of these insects which we catch and eat. I would love to tell you how delicious they are, but I personally do not eat them, though everyone else in Uganda does and proclaims how sweet the insects are.
The common ground for Sweden and Uganda should be May, the spring. Because it rains here as much as in Uganda during this month (which may not be true because I do not study weather, but based on the fact that I have a glimpse into both countries). However, Uganda does not have a clue to what summertime songs really represent in this part of the world, we just dance to the good music.
When I settled in Sweden for my studies by January 2021, I had accepted the fact that I would have to wear a jacket for the rest of my Swedish life because of the coldness. Not that I hate winter, but it gets a bit much on some days. Darkness all over the place and barely anyone on the streets. The morale is really low in these dark months and all my friends could talk about was summer and the big plans they had for it. Never understood what the big deal was until the day it was 26 degrees.
photo by Oliver Dumoulin
I walked out of my apartment and could not believe what I felt, a smooth breeze of warm air under a bright cloud of yellow rays. I had a hoodie on, that I took off immediately and got out my phone to document what I was just witnessing. I felt so alive like I had just won a race. Seeing people in normal T-shirts, shorts and no jackets made me feel welcome back to Earth. They say happiness is contagious and I felt that. Everyone looked happy which made me want to dish out hugs congratulating everyone on surviving the negative degrees.
Hälsoparken is where I went for a dance lesson overlooking Munksjön and hit the beach, which I had never seen up until this point. The number of people there was fairly big, but it looked like a stadium of people to me. Now just like my friends, all I can talk about is summer and the big plans I have. To all the Swedes, Europeans, Americans, and all the students that have lived many summers, I am sorry for being slow, I get it now. Twenty-five degrees plus is just the best. I cannot wait to dance and chill at the beach all day every day.