A Trent Bridge classic and a Pakistani redemption

Pakistan have returned in a typical Pakistani style. They have ended their terrible losing streak by beating the hot favourites of the tournament — England. That’s Pakistan for you… Pakistan can be…


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A Winter Solstice in Wellington

Weather in Wellington is pretty similar to Seattle. Both places have an outsized reputation for rainy weather that’s not backed up by the data. Did you know Seattle is the 32nd most rainy city in America, behind places like St. Louis and Baltimore? Did you know it rains as much in Wellington, New Zealand as Houston, Texas? But don’t tell the locals in either city, because a lot of their local pride is tied up in having the worst weather in the country.

That said, it really has been raining a lot lately. From the highway today, I saw the ocean frothy and brown, sloshing and crashing higher up the embankments than we’re used to seeing. It’s the sort of weather where a turn at a dark intersection might treat you to a deep kersploooooooosh hydro-planing sound as your car tries to fjord an unexpected urban lagoon, sending a wall of water to crash down on the corner bus stop.

It’s the sort of weather that cuts back on walks with my dog. We typically turn left if we want to climb down the enormous staircase in our hilly neighbourhood, or turn right if we’d like to take the stairs on the way home. But when the weather is this bad, immediately drenching my dog and slicking my glasses before I’ve left my front yard, we don’t do either. We just walk, me stiff legged with immediately soaked pants, the dog looking back at me confused. We stop as soon as possible, then hurry back home where I wrap her in a oversized American flag towel cooing in her ear.

I’ve often heard the complaint that Americans don’t think much about the world outside their borders. They don’t learn other languages, they don’t know where most countries are on a map, they don’t bother to understand the big international news of the day. That’s all a fair criticism, I think. But since moving to the Southern Hemisphere, I’ve noticed this issue is global. For everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, June through August equals summer. For us down here, it’s the middle of our dark, damp, cold winter. So when I read articles about how “everyone” is enjoying summer, and “the whole world” is experiencing hot temperatures, I arch my brow. Everyone, eh?

So today is the shortest day of the year for us. In Seattle they’re having their wild solstice parade in Fremont and the sun will be going down around 10pm. Down here, the sun barely came out. The day’s light was about as bright as when I use my flashlight in my bedroom. A flat, grey light. The sort of weather to endure because you know things will soon reverse and the days will begin to stretch their legs. By September it will be spring, and then we’ll have our glorious summer Christmas.

It’s hard to drive on our street. Think a mountain road in Italy, or some small Japanese fishing village in a Studio Ghibli film. The road is so narrow that many people avoid moving here because they don’t want to navigate it every day. In fact, some people even install elevators on the hill to get into their houses far above or below the street. When you’re driving and come across another car, there isn’t room for both cars to pass. Each trip requires a lot of coordinating with oncoming traffic so you can both get by.

As we neared the last bend on the way home, I noticed two big pieces of lumber lying in the gutter. They were at an angle that was causing lots of leaves and paper to get caught in them, which was causing an enormous puddle to balloon out into the street. I reached out with the toe of my boot to try and nudge the lumber out of the way. As soon as I did, whoosh, torrents of water raced into the sewer and the street got a bit less flooded. It was a small thing, but it’s a small road and a small country. Every little bit helps in the middle of winter.

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