Excess of Vitamin D (Ode to my Adopted Coast of Oaxaca)

15 May

It’s that time of year again, folks! Spring time on la costa, when I wake up at 3AM with my sheets soaked in sweat and pull myself out of bed just to go take a shower so maybe I can sleep some more. (Granted, this happens less often now that we have electricity.) My hair is a frizzy frazzled mess, thanks to the 85% humidity. The water in my shower is tepid even though we don’t have a hot water source. The baby is battling some sort of fungal diaper rash. I don’t ever actually dry off because I’m soaked in sweat again as soon as I turn off the water. But I love it! I love it! I adore my hot, sweaty, beloved, adopted costa!

I appear to be suffering from GLEE(VD) Syndrome, the opposite of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). My current disorder stands for Gringas Loving Everything due to Excess of Vitamin D. One of the side effects is inventing cheesy acronyms, so beware, folks, if you plan to travel to a tropical climate for an extended amount of time. You, too, might find yourself making up stupid names for things because you’re giddy with the realization that you are living the dream of eternal summertime.

Photo on 5-15-16 at 1.54 PM

Frizzy, sweaty, and smiling! Yipee!

My mama always said you can only complain about one season. If you’re gonna gripe about the snow, don’t talk bad about the sunshine. If you’re gonna moan about raking the leaves, don’t whine about the raging April showers and storms. Pick one season to complain about, and that’s it. You don’t get to hate everything all year long.

It’s a good policy, and it’s serving me well. When I walk back into my office in the most outrageous heat of the day at 4pm, and I’m dripping sweat and running out the door to go teach, I try to keep myself from bitching by saying something like, “I’m so glad it’s not cold out!” or “Thank goodness for this sunshine!” One of my coworkers has declared that, “This is much better than negative 40 degrees,” and I’ll be adding that to my list of things to say in the 4pm heat. Because if I only get one season to complain about, it’s winter. I loathe and despise the cold. I abhor the way cold weather and lack of sunshine seeps into my bones, all the way into my soul, sucking the joy right out of my very existence. Seriously. Winter is my arch nemesis.

Not that winter exists here in Puerto Escondido. Despite being on the coast, however, there are seasons. They’re just way more subtle than the drastic seasons in Kentucky. Sure, there are the official two seasons- rainy season and dry season. Rainy season is from May to early November, and dry season the other half of the year.

But there’s more to it than that. Like right now, we’re in the April to June ungodly humid season, the Satan-himself-is lightheaded-from-sweat-induced-water-loss season. Granted, it may rain some starting about the first of May, but it won’t actually cool anything down for more than 3 minutes. But I’m not complaining! No, siree. Sweat is good for getting those toxins out of your body, according to the internet. Some people complain they aren’t motivated to exercise when it’s this aggressively stifling in the air, but I figure you might as well exercise because even if you’re just sitting there you’re going to be sweating. It’s a lot like summer in Kentucky, which is my favorite season. This is not Kentucky, though, where I had to carry around a hoody in July because the air conditioning everywhere would nearly freeze me to death. There’s practically no A/C anywhere because it’s too expensive. One less thing to worry about!

After this, from July through the end of September, we reach the more-likely-to-rain-or-have-a-closeby-hurricane season. At that time of year, if there’s a hurricane off in the distance bringing some of its effects in, it’s liable to be cool enough for a cup of hot chocolate. (Yum!) This is when you have the Puerto equivalent of snow days. Classes might be cancelled, and even if they’re not officially cancelled, most parents won’t send their kids because the roads flood, making it too hard to get them there. (I still have to work on “snow days,” unfortunately.) Granted, roads flood temporarily pretty much anytime it rains hard, but they’re extra flooded when it rains for days on end. You try to stay home as much as possible, watching movies, making popcorn and hot chocolate. (What? Did I mention that already?) In the rainy season, it usually just gives us a shower or a storm around the time that I get off work, or a little later, and then it’s over. It’s nice and sunny again the next day- nothing like the days and weeks of gray that can happen in my city.

October and November are pretty uneventful. It’s hot and sunny (yipee) and a bit humid, with some ever-so-slight coolness from time to time. It’s nothing to write home about, but it is nice to not have to think about possible hurricanes once we’re out of the rainy season. March is another transition month, just your average hot and sunny time.

December through February is our pathetic imitation of winter. Except that that makes it sound sad and negative when really it’s f#~!ing fabulous! It reminds me of parties I had, as both a child and an adult, where we’d crank up the heat as high as it could go and wear shorts and tank tops, drinking icy drinks out of fancy straws with little umbrellas, imagining ourselves laying out on the beach. Except now I don’t have to imagine. It’s real! It’s hot and sunny on my birthday, even though I was born in sub-freezing temps. Bwahahaha!

In Puerto, my trusty hoody and some pants are as prepped as I need to be for the cold. On those days I’m stoked because I get to pull out some pair or another of awesome boots, which is the absolute only thing I appreciate about the cold (or slight chilliness, as the case may be.) Lucia is stoked to wear those pajamas that have footies and long sleeves during this season. Khalil is thrilled to not lose half his body weight in sweat every day and night. Conan’s tickled pink at being able to put a sheet over us at night (some nights). I heat up water on the stove for the kids and me to take warm showers, and there are often appropriate moments for more hot chocolate! (Seriously, guys, I’ll bring you some good Oaxacan chocolate if you’re nice to me.) And I’m thrilled that it’s- you guessed it- hot and sunny everyday, even though it’s chilly at night.

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Showing off her monkey footy pajamas, which she would totally wear no matter how hot it is if we let her.

What I love most of all, though, is that I’m living the Janis Joplin song: “Summertime… and the livin’s easy…” ALL YEAR ROUND. (If you don’t know this song, you have to listen to understand just how blissful summertime listen)

I mean, year round hot and sunny means, for example, no hoarding every kind of clothing and accessories. No bibs for the baby, because we just take his clothes off to eat. We let him run around nearly nude most of the time. I don’t have to fight with Lucia to get her shoes on if she doesn’t want to- I just throw her sandals in the backpack. I don’t have to constantly be wearing layers and changing my kids’ clothes 3 times a day based on the changes in temperature within every day in Juquila. I don’t have to put on a bunch of clothing just to be able to get up to go make coffee. I don’t have to put 5 layers on a baby just to get up and make coffee. My skin doesn’t dry out from the scalding hot showers my body requires when it’s cold. I don’t feel stuck in the house, because it’s almost always a good time to go out. Besides which, my house doesn’t even have windows that close (though we do have mosquito nets on our windows), so it’s almost like I’m outside all the time anyway. I’m not constantly shoveling food into my mouth to try to store up body fat. No covering the windows in plastic.The constant sun gives me plenty of vitamin D (excess? perhaps) and prevents a lot of my grown-up acne. I ride my bike to and from work most days of the year. I can ride a bike or exercise without feeling like my lung is caving in from the cold biting wind. I can wear skirts and tank tops all the time, even to work. We don’t need a clothes dryer. I don’t live 4 months a year hunched over, scrunched up, shriveled up, trying to somehow magically make more body heat.

I could go on for days and days like this, extolling all the benefits of what others deem infernal life on the coast. Partly because, yes, truly, I love hot and sunny weather. But I also stole another of my mama’s philosophies: if you’re going to be happy, you might as well do it right now. I quit telling myself I’ll be happy once x, y, or z happens. It’s like a dear niece of Conan’s, who when she lived with us never wanted to go out because she was always waiting for the heat to lessen up. She’d say, “I’ll go just as soon as it cools down some,” even though that might be in another 6 hours, or maybe not at all. I cannot wait for the heat to lessen up to be happy, or for anything else to change in my life, or I could just be waiting the rest of my life. So thank goodness for this unrelenting sunshine! And if you really want to hear me complain, just send me back to Juquila’s perpetually cold gray mountain weather.

4 Responses to “Excess of Vitamin D (Ode to my Adopted Coast of Oaxaca)”

  1. lee1978 May 16, 2016 at 5:27 am #

    As a fellow lover of the sun and someone whose motto (ask my kids) is “sail your ship with positivity” I love your post!

    • exiletomexico May 16, 2016 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks! I bet there’s a story behind that motto, perhaps? It’s a good one, regardless. I’ll ask your kids as soon as you bring them down to visit! ; )

  2. Mandy May 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    It’s in the 40s here. I love, love, love humid Kentucky summers so your weather sounds perfect to me!

    • exiletomexico May 17, 2016 at 8:18 am #

      Come on down! You can stay at our house. You would be in heaven!

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