One major difference between my upbringing in Germany and the way things are handled over hear is clothing. I was taught to dress according to the outside temperatures, meaning if it’s still cold you wear a coat and tights with your skirt. And if it’s warm outside you can wear your summer clothes as long as you don’t get goosebumps or shiver uncontrollably.
I soon had to realize that things are different here. I remember one day I went into town running some errands. It was a lovely day. The sun was shining which was much needed after a long period of dull weather. And then I saw it, somebody wearing flip flops with no socks. It was February. There was even still a dusting of snow on the hills.
Now, you might think that was a bit insane and that you get lunatics all over the world. True. But I’ve noticed that on this island you dress according to calendar. If it’s officially spring or summer you put away your winter clothes and start wearing your summer wardrobe. It doesn’t matter if it’s still cold, if there was some late snow or if it feels more like autumn because of all the wind and rain – the calendar says it’s summer so you dress accordingly. I suppose you have to, because otherwise you won’t be wearing those summer dresses and sandals at all. There were years when I went on holiday to the Mediterranean packing my suitcase according to what pieces in my closet still hadn’t seen any daylight that year. I ended up packing almost my whole summer wardrobe.
This British way of dressing doesn’t only apply to the calendar but also to occasions, especially to girls on a Saturday night out on the town. It can be winter and they will only wear flimsy tops, skirts the size of large belts, no stockings and a slightly frozen look. No coats, scarfs, gloves or anything keeping them remotely warm. It never stops to amaze my friends when they visit and we have been on ‘Saturday night tours’, shaking our heads at the sight of freezing women queuing to get into a club or pub while we were wrapped up warm.
So I’ve decided to hold my flag up high and be the sensible one over here. I will be the one in a cardigan when everybody else wears sleeveless shirts at 12C; the one not having a BBQ until I can sit outside in the evenings without goosebumps and everybody else complains it’s “too hot” or “boiling”; and the one not going for a swim in the Irish Sea until it feels less like an ice bucket challenge.