Tales of a Midwest Lutheran on the East Coast

Monday, September 26, 2011

Treatise on Living in the Tropics

or: how to live in a climate where you can eat a slice of the air for breakfast.

This is a work in progress, but I thought I would share a few thoughts on how to best adapt to living in a steam bath. Please, if anyone has additional tips, please comment! (Many of these are geared toward my women friends)

You are going to sweat.
Running, walking, standing doing nothing - if you are outside, you will be sweaty. You also might be sweaty when you're inside too.

Temperature has nothing to do with what you should wear for the day.
Today it is 73 degrees. In MN, that you could totally get away with pants and a light sweater. Here, you would die of heatstroke in 30 seconds if you wore that many layers. Ok, maybe not. But it sure feels warmer that 73 out there.

AC is your friend.
I also have the AC on today. Actual temperature has nothing to do with that either.

Make sure your deodorant is up to the task.
This may be TMI, but I switched my deodorant not long after we moved here. For a while now I have refused to buy deodorant with more than 14% aluminum zinc-whatever, which is what stops you from sweating in the first place. It's a metal that is less than good for your body. But it also does the job really well. My previous deodorant was at 10% and that just wasn't cutting it. I tried Secret Natural Mineral (unscented) and it works all day, which is like a miracle. It's at 18%, but that is the price I pay for not being a stinky pastor-in-waiting!

Find a foundation that is also up to the task.
I also switched to Origins liquid foundation, which has great coverage but doesn't feel heavy or cause me to break out. That brings me to...

Take extra good care of your skin.
Humidity and heat can be brutal. I got my very first heat rash on my arms from being outside yesterday and not being careful of what I was wearing (a new lightweight layering shirt that I hadn't washed yet - usually not a problem unless you are sweating!). Some of these are no-brainers, but it helps to be intentional - shower daily, dry off thoroughly, use a dry towel (sometimes our towels don't completely dry from day to day), change clothes if needed. The point is to keep skin as clean and dry as possible.

And hair.
Unless your like my husband and shave your head, your hair will feel the humidity and respond: FRIZZ! Hair products (to a point) are your friend. So is the hairdryer on the cool setting.

Dry clothes completely.
I think I have been able to hang-dry clothes outside twice since we moved. In MN, you can get away with folding a t-shirt that is just a teensy bit damp.  Not here.

Care of fruits and veggies.
They will go bad sooner that you think if you don't watch. Already we've bought strawberries and spinach that were bad the day after we bought them. Be vigilant! Buy fresh and then eat it soon! Or cook it.

Buy some rain gear,
Umbrellas, jackets, rain boots... I have yet to buy rain boots, but they are the next thing on my list. When it rains here, it rains all day, and often floods. There is nowhere for the water to go, so massive puddles form everywhere, especially in parking lots. Perhaps something like this could be fun, no?

(from the Target website, too bad it is out of stock)

That's all I got for now - stay dry, all!

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