Ahhh, seasons. Summer, fall, winter, spring – four beautiful times of the year, each one indicating a change and a passing of time. Well, where they exist. I now live in coastal Colombia, where the seasons are “breezy,” “dry,” and “rainy.” These are really only seasons that you understand after living in them, because when you look at temperature and humidity charts, they look fairly uniform year-round. We’re currently on the tail end of the rainy season, and I have to admit: I hate the rainy season.
Obviously, the breezy season is the best. I experienced it a bit in January in my training town, but I am excited to experience it here in Puerto Colombia where the proximity to the sea makes those breezes even more delicious.
And while I had assumed I would hate the dry season, because “dry” actually means “hot hot hot,” it has its pros. During the dry season, you can plan your day easily and plans won’t get ruined. And any day that you want to go to the beach, you can plan a trip without worry of getting rained out. Plus, that beach will be extra-refreshing after sweating through your clothes on the mile walk there! Of course, there are cons: both laundry and showers are constant. Fortunately, laundry dries quickly during this time. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t. Even after towel-drying and standing in front of the fan naked for 3 minutes, the second you bend over to put your legs in the holes of your underpants, your brow and lower back start sweating again.
The rainy season sounds so great. Cooler temperatures thanks both to the clouds and the water mean that I actually curl up in my sheet at night, and one special night I even shut off my fan! Plus, the trees everywhere are so beautiful and green! But to be honest, the negatives greatly outweigh these positives.
- Laundry is a battle: I like to wake up early to get everything on the line while the sun is out, but it means I have to stick near the house to be able to pull everything when the rain comes.
- A trip to the beach can happen, but must be delicately timed. Going when the clouds are already out means I’m sure to get rained on. Going after the rain means the beach is under a giant puddle and is really buggy. The best time coincides with laundry time…but the rain hits my house before it hits the beach, so my clothes get re-wet without me there to move them. (Although I will note that my host sister is an angel and often helps this not)
- Mosquitoes will be out in full force. If I’m out between 5-7pm, I’m dancing and swatting and trying to get them away from me. If I’m at home, I’m probably still applying repellent because even there they’re attacking.
- It’s not just beach days that are in jeopardy: anything and everything can be cancelled due to rain. Classes at the public schools, my community classes, that event in the plaza… Each day is just even more unpredictable than ever.
- The electricity is much more susceptible to outages.
- Arroyos, flash flooding in the streets, happen, and are largely the reason things get cancelled so easily.
- Worst of all, my room smells like my grandparents’ basement. Why? In one corner, there are inexplicably puddles sometimes (I never see that much water dripping, and it’s the furthest corner from the window, but it happens). Black mold appeared on my walls one day and required some hefty scrubbing. My favorite boots molded; I sent those back to safety with Marty. Then my wedges followed suit, then my sandals (leather and suede are bad news here). I discovered, shortly before the rainy season, that my new closet had termites which created a lot of extra moisture there; my drawers still hadn’t recovered and I was constantly fighting back the mold that managed to invade the top bra in my stack every week…and then I finally pulled my closet away from the wall and discovered that the mold was back in full force everywhere. We’ve finally got it all cleaned up, and the particle board on the closet replaced with real wood, so hopefully I can be done with this.
So even though I have adored my nights cuddled up under my sheet in a cool blissful sleep, I am anxiously awaiting the end of the rainy season and the start of the breezy season so my world can return to relative predictability and controllability (lol, jk, those things don’t exist in Peace Corps).