I think today I will cover something that is both an UP and a DOWN in the
Ups, Downs, and All Arounds of Living in Peru:
My brother lives in Florida and is always bragging about his beautiful weather because he’s “so far south.” I always used to joke with him, “Oh yeah? We’re so far south the equator is north!”
No? Not funny? Tough crowd.
Here’s a world map for those of you who aren’t totally sure where exactly we are. Notice: south of the equator. So, the first obvious difference in our weather is, you guessed it!, our seasons are flip-flopped from you guys up north.
We are also far enough south that we are not completely tropical where we are in Peru. Northern Peru, where we go when we’re in Iquitos, is jungle – right next to the equator, and hot! But, we are somehow far enough south that we’re just not quite in the tropics anymore.
However, we don’t have four distinct seasons. Technically speaking, we have four seasons. But, it’s normally hard to decipher really which one is which. Peruvians say that the country is always either warming up or cooling down. Right about the time you think it just can’t get any warmer, it starts getting cold. And right about the time you think you can’t handle the cold anymore, it gets warm.
Our summers here in Lima get warm, but not overly hot (most of the time). We normally live in the 90’s or high 80’s, but since we’re in desert, it cools down to the 70’s at night. Right where we live, we have an almost constant ocean breeze which is cool year round, so sleeping at night is normally always comfortable. During the summer, we rarely, if ever, see rain – in any minute form. We may have more overcast days, but that rarely means precipitation.
We know summer is ending and fall has taken over when the fog rolls in. This is normally met with both sadness and anticipation because by the time fall rolls around, we’re all in such a desperate need for a break from the heat and a little bit of cool temperatures that we kind of forget what “fog” really means. During fall, the fog rolls in around 4pm and stays until about 9am. Normally during the fall, I have a jacket with me when I go to school in the morning at 9, but don’t need it by lunch. I don’t need a jacket when I go to school in the afternoon, but wear one by the time I come home at 5. Sunny days start becoming fewer and farther between and when there is sun, it’s out for less time during the day. And then, all of a sudden, the sun is gone completely and we’ve hit…
Winter. Even though the temperature still stays in the 60’s during the winter, the humidity can get up to 90% – with no rain – plus a constantly, chilly breeze, so you just feel chilled. Our houses don’t have heat or insulation, so sometimes the temperature inside the house is the same (or cooler) than outside. We know it’s winter because the fog comes in around 3:30pm (sometimes earlier) and just… doesn’t leave… until about… September. Maybe about three or four times during the winter months the sun will actually break through. This year was amazing – we had almost a week of sunshine and the fog didn’t roll in until 5pm! It was so refreshing. But, last year was a different story. We didn’t see sun for months on end. The real downside, though, is all the humidity. Doing laundry with no dryer is a real pain! I have literally had jeans hanging to dry for two full weeks. Most of the time, you just guess on whether or not your clothes are actually dry. During the day they might feel dry, but by evening, they feel damp again. You kind of spend the whole winter wearing semi-damp clothing, but because everything feels damps, you don’t really notice – until the one day the sun is out ALL DAY LONG and the clothes dry for REAL and you go, “Wow! I didn’t know I had been wearing wet pants for three months!” BUT – there’s green grass because of all the drizzly fog!
And then, spring arrives! The fog begins to lift and you realize that by 9am, instead of a foggy, dreary day, you have sun! And the sun stays up longer and you can actually see the sun until it sets at 6pm. The mountains around us are visible and the wind isn’t quite so brisk. Our first clue spring had arrived this year was that the humidity broke. It seemed like (although it probably was not the case) that from one day to the next, the humidity just lifted and it felt 10 degrees warmer. We were getting hot at night and I told Brian, “Spring must be here! I’m finally warm at night!” and he checked our thermometer and, I kid you not, the humidity was way down, but – so was the temperature! It was actually getting into the 50’s at night, but without humidity, it felt miles warmer than it had all winter long. Then, spring blends into summer and then the cycle starts over again.
Each season has its ups and downs.
Ups: Summer – sunny, warm weather, dry laundry! Fall – cooler temperatures, yet laundry still dries. Winter – “rainy” days you can spend with family, fewer bugs, green grass. Spring – flowers, sun after months of dreariness, laundry finally drying again!
Downs: Summer – bugs, sunburn, very hot afternoons. Fall – flies, very cool breeze begins. Winter – laundry never dries, spiders come indoors, mud everywhere, cool breeze that makes you pray it would just snow (or even rain) and get it over with. Spring – flies are back, spiders that had been hiding in the house come out to say “hi”, strong wind.