…and green, and yellow, and orange, and red.

I would say southern California only has two seasons—summer and then the rest of the year that seems to blend together with slightly lower temperatures and occasional rain. I think it is because of this that I have never really appreciated seasons. Being born and raised in southern California, summer was the only season that really mattered. It meant no more school, longer days, backyard barbeques and hanging out at the beach. Multicolored autumns and snow-white winters only came to me through television or pictures. I just always felt like I was missing out on something.

My first real fall experience was around this time last year when I was living in New York. Although the coldness took some getting used to, it was exciting to finally experience the changeover from summer to fall on the East Coast and see its world famous fall foliage. A walk through Central Park on a brisk, autumn day is a must if you ever find yourself in New York City during October or November.

This fall I find myself in another seasonal city—Stockholm. Similar to the transition that I felt in New York, the temperature here in Stockholm dropped 20 degrees virtually overnight, one layer of clothes turned into two or three, the sunsets have been getting shorter by five minutes everyday, and “chance of snow” has been thrown around by the weatherman on more than one occasion.  My Swedish friends think I am crazy for being in Sweden rather than sunny southern California, yet I couldn’t be happier about it. The slower pace of life here compared to New York has given me more of a chance to savor fall this year which isn’t something I had anticipated on doing. The fall foliage in Stockholm has been like a shifting art show where a walk through the park or a look out the window today is a slightly different exhibit than it was yesterday. It’s funny how permanent city sights are what many travelers flock to without paying much attention to what is going on in the background, although sometimes it is what is going on in the background that is more interesting. My realization of this is slowly changing the way I look at cities, both known and unknown.

Nowadays I not only appreciate seasons; I am in love with them.