Happy 1st Day of Summer…or Winter!

Pail and shovel in beach sandWhen I was 16, I had the privilege of being an AFS exchange student in Brisbane, Australia for the summer…I mean, winter. Well, it was winter THERE and summer at home in Wisconsin. But, even though I’d read up on our climatic differences in advance, I found the Queenslanders’ idea of “winter weather” to be really delightful, given the ice storms and snow days that I was used to back in Madison.

I remember one late June day in Brisbane when I was chatting with my new Aussie school friends, and they were bundled up in their jackets. They had their gloves on without complaint. (Technically, we were required to wear these white gloves that were part of our uniform when we were off school grounds, but that didn’t always happen…) And they were seriously whining about the temps, which were, to my Midwestern bones, a balmy 50-degrees F./10-degrees C.

“Are you guys kidding?!” I asked, wondering if, maybe, they were just pulling my leg, being that I was the new girl and all. “You don’t really think this is…cold, do you?”

Turned out, no, they were not kidding and, yes, they really did consider what would have practically been shorts and t-shirt weather for me to be, in my friend Susan’s words, “Freezing!”

countryside,snow covered landscapes,dawn,dreamlike,fences,fields,fotolia,gentle,simplicity,weathered trees,winterIt was a very valuable lesson in Point of View (POV), an important tool authors use all the time when crafting their characters, but I didn’t think of myself as an author then. I was just a high-school kid from from the States on this grand adventure halfway around the world. Sometimes I still can’t believe my parents actually let me do that.

Which is yet another POV lesson because, now, I am the parent and my son is entering high school at the end of the summer (or winter, depending on your location, LOL). He’s already telling me about trips he wants to take and various excursions he’d like to go on sometime soon…with his friends, not with me or my husband. I’m terrified to just let him go, but I know what a great experience he could have.

I think back to my exchange program — living with a family for 3 months that I’d never met prior to my arrival, going to a completely different kind of school than the one I was used to, being “the foreigner” in my class. It was enlightening in so many ways. Such a life-changing, learning experience. And I never think of the beginning of summer (or winter) without remembering that very special one. Even now…nearly 30 years later.

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match - ARe coverSo happy 1st day of summer — or winter — my friends! May it be a wonderful season for you all!! Do you have any special plans coming up in these next few months? Weddings? Graduations? Trips? I’d love to hear about them :).

p.s. Many of you might already know this, but my latest contemporary romance, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, is on super-sale through this weekend for just $0.99! It’s available at this special price on both Kindle & Nook for my Reader Appreciation Celebration. Hope you enjoy!

About Marilyn Brant

Marilyn Brant is a chocolate addict, a music junkie and the USA TODAY bestselling author of ACCORDING TO JANE (2009), FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE (2010) and A SUMMER IN EUROPE (2011), all from Kensington Books, as well as a number of light romantic comedies, including THE SWEET TEMPTATIONS COLLECTION (2013) and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH (2013). Her latest novel -- a coming-of-age romantic mystery called THE ROAD TO YOU -- was just released in October 2013!
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10 Responses to Happy 1st Day of Summer…or Winter!

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Marilyn, your 3 months in Oz sounds like such fun. My sister in Phoenix is the same way about the weather. When she and my bil first moved there, they were walking around in shorts when everyone else bundled up. Now she complains when it’s 60 degrees out.

    My only special plans are getting my next book up!

  2. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Marilyn,

    I spent the month of April in Australian a long time ago and got the exact same reaction. And being Canadian was their excuse for my ‘odd’ behavior. lol.

    It’s tough letting the kids grow up. My daughter and baby is just finishing grade 10 and there is so much more going on in her life and so much more to come that it’s hard to step back and let her rip.

    But with age comes POV – and watching her fly has been a wonderful experience.
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Vampire in Denial is….FREE!!!

  3. Amy says:

    LOL, Marilyn! I have lived in central or east central Illinois my entire life so when my Texas family complains that they are cold at 50 or 60 degrees I have to laugh at them. Heck, my kids fight me to wear winter coats unless it is in the low 30′s! I have never been outside the US but would love to go to Australia some day. Would be very cool. As far as any plans this summer – not really. We will venture up to Chicago for a weekend probably but other than that just enjoying the summer. I hope a lot of people download PP&PM. It is such a good book!
    Amy`s last blog was …Book Blast (Excerpt & Giveaway): MINE TO TAKE by Cynthia Eden

    • Amy,
      You had me laughing aloud — re: fighting with our kids to get them to wear coats — I know!! What is it about kids who grow up in this area that convince them that it’s almost NEVER cold?! My son would wear long shorts and sneakers in a January blizzard if I didn’t insist otherwise ;).
      And thank you so much for your kind words about the book!! Your lovely review meant a lot to me!
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match: On SALE for Just $0.99!

  4. Oh, Marilyn, I could relate to so many parts of this post and the others’ comments!

    So fun to read about your Australian experience! Reminded me of my sister-in-law (a native Arizonan), who was bundled up and shivering when it was SIXTY degrees in AZ one December. :roll:

    As for your son, I definitely understand that fear, too! Next month my daughter turns 21 and is going to Vegas with friends to celebrate. Do I need to tell you how terrified I am? I might have to sneak on another plane and follow just to keep an eye on them. Maybe that will be my summer plan. :)

    • LOL!! I know — 60 degrees, right?!! We Illinois girls would be getting ready to have a BBQ outside or something :).

      And I can tell you, if my son were about to head off to Vegas, you’d find me flying there in the seat next to you! [Hey, THAT would be fun!!] I’m sure your daughter will have a wonderful — and safe! — time with her friends, but, yeah, this “letting go” part of parenting is hard… xox
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match: On SALE for Just $0.99!

  5. LOL, Marilyn, count me in with the thin-blooded Southern Hemisphere group :)

    It’s around 15 deg C here at the moment, mid-winter, and brrrr, I’m wearing ugg boots, jacket and a scarf. ;)

    I love travelling just for the reason you mentioned, that everyone has a different view on the world, and it’s good to remind ourselves of that as often as possible.

    As for letting go, my kids are still quite young but even when my daughter recently went on a two night school camp, I really missed her and was so happy to have her back safe, sound and very tired after an awesome time.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Cover Reveal: Banquet of Lies

    • Michelle,
      I got my first and only pair (so far!) of Ugg boots when I was in Australia back in the ’80s. No one here had ever heard of them back then, and I felt pretty ahead of my time when they finally made such a big splash on the footwear scene, LOL.
      And I’m so glad your daughter not only had a wonderful camp trip but came home happy and safe. No matter how fast they grow up, they’re still our babies ;).
      Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match: On SALE for Just $0.99!

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