Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chilly in Chile: Part II

I must return the this subject as it tends to occupy a vast majority of my thoughts: the cold. Since my last post about how it's currently Wintertime in Chile I have learned a few things. I had the hardest time figuring out why I was so cold when the temperature was only in the 50s. I've come to realize that it's humidity that makes this cold so awful. I'd always heard about cold humidity, but I never grasped the idea of humidity being cold. So, feeling is believing in my case.
I have also learned that none of the buildings here have central heating. Growing up I took the phrase, "it's cold outside" for granted. I always knew that I would warm up once I stepped foot into a building. That's not the case here. In fact, it's usually harder to stay warm inside because you don't move around as much. I've even seen my breath in my room a couple times. So, what do I do to prevent freezing to death?
  1. Relish my time with the blow dryer. I love the blow dryer, it truly is heaven-sent. Not only do I use it to dry my hair, but I'll also use it over my whole body. (My feet are usually the most in need.)
  1. My family has an elliptical in the Living facing the TV. I like to exercise, I like Church videos, and I like to learn. So I would have enjoyed using the elliptical and watching a video in Spanish anyway, but these days I get on the elliptical simply to get my body temperature up.
  2. One time when I was straightening my hair I remembered thinking, "I wish I could straighten my entire body so I could be warm." The only thing holding me back was getting third degree burns from my straightener; bummer. But it turns out my my friend Holli actually did that (to a degree). She turned on her straightener for a little while to get warm, turned it off, and she actually ironed her hands, fingers, feet, and her nose! En serio!
I hope this illustrates just how cold it gets here. But the funny thing is that it's not like this every day. It'll be cold for a couple days, and then perfectly pleasant and sunny for the next three. I always thought Colorado's weather was a little fickle, but Vina has certainly changed my mind.

My jackets were still wet from last night (I was out in the rain a lot) so mi madre lent me one of her sweaters. This will sound incredibly shallow, but back in the states I wouldn't wear this sweater anywhere, but here it's an entirely different story. I felt terribly clever to have something besides my scarf to keep my neck warm. Bacan! All day my favorite Spongebob quote was running through my mind.
Spongebob: Patrick! Are you crazy!?
Patrick: No, I'm warm.
Haha, amen!


  1. Oh, I had forgotten about the no central heating, but now I remember that even down south in Talcahuano and Arauco (where it is much colder), we did not have central air. In the winter we got a propane heater from the mission office into. At night I would often wear mittons and a snow cap. It's funny to think of living with climate control inside, isn't it!

  2. Abby, I know what you mean about humidity and feeling cold. Like you, I grew up in a very dry climate. So when I lived in England for two years I was really almost shocked by how cold in the winter I would feel after spending a few hours outside. It would seem like I was chilled to the bone. The higher the humidity (such as a cold rain)and it seemed to make the cold even more intense.

    Making things worse, often times when we would be invited into a home we would be given a place directly in front of a heater or a fireplace. Within a very short time I would be so comfortable that I would have to fight to stay awake. I would have to pinch myself, sit on the edge of the sofa or if appropriate and available, ask to sit in a chair a little further back. One time while my companion was teaching his portion I was trying to keep awake by focusing on what he was saying but I fell asleep. After a period of time (I was told it was a couple of minutes), I realized it was very quite and I opened my eyes with a start. The people we were teaching and my companion burst into laughter. After they stopped laughing enough to speak they told of noticing that my head was nodding and my eyes were fluttering. They pointed it out to one another and keep talking a short time and then they stiffled their smerks and laughing and whispered to see how long I would sleep. While they were very entertained I was exceptionally embarrassed. So, I do understand a humid cold.

  3. I was laughing out loud about the sweater. It is adorable on you!

  4. I have a friend in San Francisco who wears knit hats all year round because of the wet cold. I grew up in Chicago, so that feels normal to me (you've got to learn to cover your nose when you go outside so you don't get ice cube nose hairs).
    I'm glad you're having fun!

  5. I'm feeling sorry for you about the freezing weather. By the time you get used to it, spring will be here, and you'll have forgotten all about it. In Bolivia we went through all four seasons every day. It was very dry (worse than Colorado). At night it was freezing (three blankets and a poncho). In the morning and evening it was nice, and at noon it was blazing hot. It was hard leaving the house and being dressed for every eventuallity. You are lucky to live with a nice family where the dad makes bread!

  6. Abby! That's what I kept saying when I was in Africa. It's COLD in the winter. My mom would write to me and say "but it's 50 degrees outside". It wasn't that humid in Africa, but there was no central heating and no insulation in the houses. That makes a HUGE difference. If it's 50 outside then it's 50 inside and that means no relief from the cold.

  7. Your experiences remind me SO MUCH of my mission! The dogs, the really cold even though it's not that cold outside, the making bread...I remember trying to explain myself when telling people that it was so so so cold even though the lowest it ever got was 23 degrees fahrenheit and it used to get much colder than that it Colorado. Insulation and central heating make such a huge difference!

  8. Good to know that you all survived cold humidity with zero insulation or central heating. Today I was joking with some girls about none of us having electric blankets and how we would all love one. They stopped to look at me and saw that I was serious. I guess it turns out that they both have electric blankets, one girl even has two. It made me laugh.

  9. I miss you Abby! Looks like you're having a blast