Friday, April 13, 2007

The Heat is On

I never expected that one of the most difficult adjustments to living in Germany would be the temperature change. I expected to have a hard time with the language, with being far away from familiar people and food, even with driving. But I thought since I was moving to a climate so close to the ones I've lived in before, that the temperature wouldn't be a big deal.

However, I've come to realize that it's part of German culture to exist in a slightly warmer state than I'm used to. Thus, the thick jackets, the abundance of headcoverings, and the infernal lack of air conditioning anywhere. (Have I mentioned that before? I have? Just making sure.)

This obsession with keeping warm extends especially to children. It's important to bundle a baby from head to toe when going outside, including down-filled stroller covers and mittens, and socks and hats in any kind of weather. I also noticed recently that most of the toddlers I saw this winter wore thick woolen tights beneath their clothes - over their diapers but under their jeans or skirts, like long underwear. And then I read this article explaining the practice of dressing a child in tights all winter long, whatever the temperature.

Who knew that the thermostat could be a source of culture shock? Now, I do. And I'm concerned about those July nights when our fifth-floor bedroom is still ninety degrees at midnight. I've found myself dreading the sunshine this summer. And that's a sad, sad, thing.

8 comments:

Christina said...

I'm from the southern U.S. and am often much less bundled up than the average German! I find the whole thing quite baffling! If I'M not cold, how can they be?

Kate said...

Thanks so much for the link and I am happy to discover your blog. Your life is so much like mine!

Maria said...

Tights are ridiculous! The Boy already sweats half of the time, so why make him miserable? He's actually usually warmer than I am!

EuroTrippen said...

Preach on sister... even with multiple portable a/c units I'm still dreading this summer. There's just no where to escape the heat- a fact that really wears you down after a month or so.

Debbie said...

Me too!!! I'm from Colorado originally (not too hot & very low humidity). My first summer in Seattle (record temps that year) I was sure I'd die. It felt like Kansas. Then, last June, I moved HERE. OMG. Spending the whole summer indoors because the streetcars, stores, malls and even the hospitals are 95-130 degrees, soaking with sweat, nausea, headaches is NOT my idea of a good time. Where can buy a an actual a/c (not stupid air cooler) for cheap here? Can't take another summer like last, either!

Blythe said...

I paid a pretty penny at an electronics store (Media Markt) for an air conditioner that barely cools one of our bedrooms. It's so loud that our neighbor threatened to complain to the police, so now we have to vent it into our living room instead of outdoors. But at least we have one. So I have no advice about where to get an affordable one. If you find out, you tell me!

Christina said...

Okay, after spending many air conditionless summers at college in Richmond, VA, I don't have a problem at all with the summers here at least! LOL!

Bek said...

Sehr lustig!
I used your post as "Food for Thoughts" in my new blog about cultural differences. I can understand the negative aspects of lack of airconditioning. I got used having that in the USA very quickly. However why are Strumpfhosen such a big deal?