Most people love the sun, but me? I love the rain! I love listening to heavy rain when I’m safely inside, tucked up in bed, with nowhere to go and nothing to do except listen to the soothing music that the raindrops make against the window. When I’m hiking, there’s nothing I like better than a refreshing drizzle to keep me cool. Also, you just can’t beat that “green” smell that you get as the rain evaporates from the wet grass in the countryside. I love it!
It’s the result of a combination between “nature and nurture”. Genetically, my ancestors are all Gaelic, so I must have some sort of extra protection against wet weather. It really is my natural habitat! It’s also “nurture”, as growing up in Wales meant adapting to wearing clothes that were both warm but also quick drying.
When I moved to Madrid, I didn’t know anything about dressing for hot weather, and I had no idea how sick and lethargic working in the heat (without air-conditioning) would make me. I didn’t know about wearing loose clothes in light colours, or sandals, or just to stay off the streets (and out of the sun) between 1 and 5 in the afternoon. Gradually, I started to copy the behaviour of people I saw on the street who were taking advantage of a tree’s shadow while waiting to cross the street, or eating light, cool snacks like chopped watermelon.
The oven dry heat in Madrid never suited me, and I came to realise that my genes were specialised for cooler climates. In the winter, Madrid can be quite cool in the morning (around freezing) but very warm in the sun at lunch. If I walked to work in winter, then by the time I arrived I was warm enough to have removed my jacket. My colleagues would look at me as if I was totally bonkers, rubbing their arms and shivering.
I’m glad that I lived in Madrid and have learned how to take care of myself in hot weather, as that’s an experience that will be invaluable to me on my trip to Central America. I’ve never been to a tropical climate before, but I am both mildly allergic to insect bites and totally irresistible to most of the bugs I have encountered so far in my life. Even though I try not to use chemicals (and never use aerosols) I really will have to bite the bullet and invest in some heavy duty insect repellants and non-drowsy antihistamines to keep me comfortable. But I’m no stranger to humidity, and I’m sure I’ll feel right at home wearing wellies (rain boots) in Costa Rica!