My friend who now lives in Texas told me how, once, in her city the four seasons took place within a single day. Classes had to be canceled, she had written in cursive, because it started snowing on a summer afternoon. No one was prepared for it.
She had moved there with her family the summer of ’07 and they had since then moved thrice. Each time she realizes I sent a postcard to the wrong address, she blames something about the weather that made her forget to remind me. Then she changes the topic. Drifting off, talking to me about how different it is there, how much better it is, and how much I would like it. People here are more interesting, the weather is better – nothing close to the heat of Manila.
Another friend, based in DC, always tells me about snow.
Snow, snow, snow – always blocking her driveway.
Always 3 feet high, on a good day.
She never tells me how it ever looks like –all I imagine is a street of white, a blanket of cold, formless things. Pretty much like what I’ve always read in books and seen in the movies. Once a week she would tell me how things were different, echoing my friend from Texas. The weather is different, the people are different. Once in a while she wishes she were back home (meaning: here, in our heat-infested country) with her family but then she’d shrug it and talk about moving to New York in a few months.
It would make for a good difference, she would say. Lots of jobs in any season.
The last of my immigrant friends, the one who had to move unexpectedly always asked me about how things were doing here. Her father had taken her and her brother when their mother died some two years ago. I tell her nothing’s different – if at all, things are much hotter. Even the airconditioning feels hot. I tell her about the rumors, how some pets have keeled over to their deaths due to the severity of the heat.
Then ask her how she’s doing. How are things? I had meant the people, if she had made new friends, if her family was doing all right, but she mistook my question.
It’s cold here, she said.