One of the hardest things for me to acclimate to here is the cold. I do not like being cold. My fingers turn blue and my toes go numb and my nose won’t stop running. My shoulders hunch up and my back hurts and I get The Spine Shivers. I get snippy.
I should clarify: I don’t mind the cold as long as I can get away from it. As long as there is a warm place to go to, I rather enjoy the cold and the things that go with it, like wool socks, candles, and hot drinks. But put me in a drafty, cement block house with a tin roof and no hot water (except for in the shower—thank goodness we have hot showers!) and no heat source, and then make it rain for days on end and make the temperature plummet so low that it frosts, and you have one very chilled and unhappy mama.
I heat up water on the stove and then soak my fingers in it until I can feel them again. I layer up. I steal my husband’s coat. I wrap myself up in a comforter like a human burrito and then slouch down in front of the computer and do not move. I do jumping jacks. I try to pretend I’m not actually cold and wash my hair in the kitchen sink and nearly pass out from an iced skull. I turn on the oven and stick my feet in it. I dream of an oven big enough that I could climb in completely. Or I fantasize that I’m a sick baby bunny with kind owners who take pity and put it, in its hay-lined nesting box, into the turned-low oven to warm up.
Of course I’m being a wimp. All these thousands of people have been living without heat for centuries and they’re doing just fine. It’s doable. I should just relax into the perpetual cold and go with it.
But how is it physically possible to relax when you’re cold? I can’t figure it out.
A friend commented that she doesn’t believe we have bad weather here because the sun is always shining in the photos I post. That’s because I don’t take my camera out when it’s raining! I don’t want to get it wet and the lighting is bad in the gray dark. But this latest rainy spell, I made it my goal to take some pictures. I couldn’t really catch the bleak, cold wetness, probably because we’re living in a tropical wonderland, but I tried.
There’s a pattern to the weather, I’m learning. We’ll have a spell of warm weather that gets progressively hotter as the days go by. Then there’s an in-between day in which the wind blows and clouds clutter the sky. That night it invariably pours rain, great solid sheets of rain. The heavy rains only last several minutes before dialing back to a soaking rain that holds steady while waiting for the clouds to muster their resolve and once again hold forth. It’s like riding waves, but upside down: RUSH, pour-pour-pour, RUSH, pour-pour-pour.
After about 12 hours of this, the clouds are dragging close to the ground, ragged and worn out, and the temperature drops. For the next two days, maybe three, the clouds remain low and shredded. There is a steady, misty drizzle (called chipi-chipi) that hardly wets your hair interspersed with soft rains.
And then, finally, comes a day of almost no rain. As the cloud cover and humidity lessen, the temperature drops even further. It will be bittingly cold the next morning but that’s a sure sign that the sun will come out, whoo-hoo! In a couple days it will be hot enough to go swimming and wear shorts to bed and drink iced coffee, and the sky will be so blue that the grey clouds seem like nothing but a made-up memory.
Right now we’re on the last day of the rainy cycle, I think. It’s misting lightly and there’s supposed to be sun tomorrow.
But yesterday morning, in the middle of the cold and wet, I decided I could take it no longer.
While the kids were at school, I hopped on a bus and took off for Cobán and its fancy (Walmart) grocery store where I picked out four single bed comforters. By bundling up in jackets and socks, the kids had been staying warm at night, but just barely. It was time they each had their own insulating comforter.
When they came home after school and spied their newly made-up beds, the shouts of joy and screeches of glee were so intense that I actually felt bad. Were they that cold all this time? What kind of a mother would let her children shiver through their dreams? Also, could the cold night temps be the reason the youngest was have trouble with bladder control? Oh dear.
Last night when we gathered for bedtime reading, the kids trouped out to the drafty living area, their colorful, puffy, warm comforter wrapped tight about their shoulders. What bliss!
I go to bed each night hoping that the next day will bring warmer weather. I’m not asking for much—just a few hours of sun in which to thaw out would be plenty!
Written yesterday, on Friday, March 15. This morning, it is weirdly raining while there is blue sky and the sun is shining, yes!