Shanghai in June is pretty grim. So is Shanghai between November and, say, March. Or maybe April. May and October can be quite nice, with skies you can actually see and skylines with visibility beyond the nearest few blocks. A lot of the year is made up of heavy white/grey/beige skies, torrential downpours at random moments, and a general sense of quiet desperation (at least for me). It’s a bit like a super-urbanized Ireland but without the intense green natural backdrop and with the added bonus of just a hint of acid rain that gives me a rash when it hits.
I’ve slowly learned to accept Shanghai’s demoralizing climate. When it isn’t bone chillingly cold and grey, it’s generally suffocatingly humid and grey. This can be hard on a person’s mental health if they are vulnerable to such things. I know others who wouldn’t even notice a cloudy day let alone feel gutted by one but I am not one of those.
How do I deal with it?
Well, first of all, moving to a flat with lots of windows and light, 16 floors above the flooded streets helps. In our old flat, our very limited window space faced other rain soaked buildings and let in almost no light or air. I often went stir crazy from cabin fever. Even though our current view is of a nearly invisible grey skyline, we at least have light and space.
I’ve also given myself permission to stay in and hibernate on really bad days (like today, with flooded sidewalks and drenched pedestrians), drinking lots of hot tea and curling up in bed with DVDs and no need to look out.
It’s not easy living in a city that constantly tries to pull the emotional rug out from under you by using its climate to undermine your sanity. This website is actually one of the distractions I have set up to try to keep mine.