Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shhh! Don't Tell!!

For almost eleven years I have been living in Texas. That's not quite half of my life, but it's been a long time nonetheless.

The first few years were hard. I had culture shock, climate shock, and homesickness.

The climate here is brutal compared to the SF Bay Area where I grew up. In the East Bay the climate is super mild. Cool mornings year-round, with a fresh ocean breeze. Most of the time it hovers between 60 and 80. Year round. It may get a little chilly in the winter, but that's only down to like 45.

One year it snowed. We were amazed. We went outside and made snowballs and saved them in the freezer. My friend who lived in the hills of my town said that they never got snow that year; they got hail.

Anything above 80 was a heat wave. We all sat around and complained when it was so hot.

So, back to Texas. When I moved here I was shocked. It was so hot and since I was in Abilene the first four years I was depressed because of the desert climate. I would go home for a visit and revel in the wonderful temperatures. One year I went to Oregon to visit my sister at the end of a super hot summer. I couldn't believe that in August they could get chilly and leave the windows open at night for cold air.

When we moved to Austin I was even more surprised because the summers here are from May till September. The record for heat is 108. One year we had over 40 days over 100 degrees each day. Here you have to have air conditioning. I never had a/c in CA.

Joel is very smart, and usually knows the logical answer to problems. He has been in TX for about 13 years, so he would tell me to get outside, get acclimated by being in the weather. I would scoff. How could one "get used to" this horrible heat? How could people walk around in jeans and cotton shirts and *do* stuff in this heat?

I began to feel that I would never adjust. I would be one of those people who has their a/c at 65 in the summer and the heat at 85 in the winter. I would go rock climbing and drink so much liquid.

This last fall I started walking Emlyn to school. It's only a quarter mile in a residential neighborhood. I have timed it, and it actually takes longer to load two kids, drive a quarter mile, unload two kids, and walk in to the classroom. Walking is better for the ever-present environment, it's more healthy for the family, and it had one surprising benefit.

After walking my daughter to and from school all year round, winter temperatures and summer temps alike, I can officially say that I am acclimated. I can do things outside. In the summer. And not get heat stroke. It's amazing, I tell you.

Honestly, some of it is my physical body. I feel that I am more used to the temp. But some of it had to be habits. If I go outside, I take water or gatorade for myself and the kids. I go earlier in the day. I move more slowly.

So, today it is 94 degrees outside. We're about to go to a picnic, and I'm not dreading it. I know we will be okay, in the weather God has given us.


Alyson said...

Good point. Not sure if it will get me voluntarily outside more often, but good point. :)

Angela O. said...

congrats on acclimation. I keep trying to convince trey to move to the twin cities but he claims he cannot get acclimated to that cold - I know it is just an excuse to stay in austin . . .

H-Beast said...

You give me hope! We grew up in the same lovely Bay Area weather, and I miss it. It is unbelievably hot here in Sac and it's stinky. I just kept telling myself: "You can own a house, you can own a house..." Hopefully that'll work. :)