Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Location: under the covers, Length of stay: as long as possible

This is not me complaining, this is me explaining. Wherever you are in the world, if you are warm, please take a moment to be thankful. Not everyone is warm, because not everyone has heat-like all the residents of central Chile, apparently. That was dramatic but the point is, I'm coooold!

Since I arrived to Chile in March, people in my family had been making references to how cold it gets in the winter here. I shrugged them off because I had looked at the weather channel averages for this area and sure, it may get down to the 40's but that didn't sound too bad, right?? I may be from the south but it gets down into the teens in Knoxville winters, so 40's sounds more than manageable. Wrong!

For the past week and a half or so, the nights and morning have been rather chilly, some much more so than others. I'm not sure what the precise temperature is because it varies so much depending on where in Vina del Mar or Valparaiso one finds themselves. Right by the shore it is windy, immediately inland its warmer, and as you creep closer to the hills the wind picks up and the temperatures drop. I live at the bottom of the hills in a residential area called Miraflores. Then of course, the temperature also depends on the time of day. Nights and mornings are freezing lately, days can be too, but if you're in the sun pants and short-sleeves and a sweater feel fine in the afternoon.

I've realized however, that I arrived here rather unprepared for the cold weather. People had told me Chileans dress really warm in the winter even though it doesn't get to cold in this area. Well, now I understand!!! Maybe they too live in a house where it is colder inside than it is outside and there is no heat! We do have a floor heater, but just one, for a house with a large downstairs and a large loft-space upstairs. The heater gets planted in the hallway and there it stays.

My host brother's bedroom is located the farthest from the heater that we have in the hallway, so sometimes he sleeps in the floor of one of my host sisters' bedrooms. When I go to bed I wait until the last minute to take off my sweatshirt and slippers, throw an extra blanket or two on top of the sheets, wool blanket, and comforter that are already on my bed, and slide all the way under the covers. Last night the air felt kind of cold on my throat as I was going to sleep, so I fear the "real cold" that is due to come in May and peak in late June...

So, here I sit under my covers, hoodie on, hood up. A couple fellow international students told me they had been warned of this "just as cold inside as it is outside" situation that happens here. "Yeah, my friend who studied here last year told me us international kids just lay under the covers and do homework all winter." Statements to that effect. This is news to me though!

Okay, enough "explaining" aka complaining though. I think this morning is particularly cold because our housekeeper has all the doors open in the back of the house, cleaning up the mess from last night's "asado," which is a meat and pisco (grape liquor) party, basically. I didn't participate in this particular asado because it was for my host dad's work friends, basically a bunch of 40-60 year old men smoking, talking, drinking and eating meat until some ridiculous hour (Happy Tuesday!?) So I fell asleep to chuckles and 1960's American hits and woke up to a wind-tunnel. Apologies for the pity all in the norhern hemisphere enjoy the coming of spring as I embrace my fall/winter #2 now here in the southern hemisphere! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

1 comment:

  1. I feel so BAD for you! I am the world's biggest baby about the cold, true, but this sounds terrible!! I'll pray for the warmest winter on record. Hey! You need one of those fuzzy robes as seen on TV! Love ya,