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I’m Freezing and There’s Nothing I Can Do but Write About It

I am 1000% percent a warm weather and tropical beach destination type of girl. When I was choosing between South Korea and Thailand to teach abroad, the I chose Thailand because of its weather and beaches. Even farther back than that, when I was choosing between England and Australia to go on exchange during college, I chose Australia for its weather and beaches. I avoid going to places because I don’t want to be cold. This is obviously a matter I take very seriously.

Make no mistake about it: I will always choose warm weather and beaches over anything else, be it mountains, winter wonderlands, colorful cities, architecture, history, culture, anything!

Puno is the opposite of warm weather and beaches. At 3825 meters (12,550 feet), it doesn’t matter how close we are to the equator (by some calculations 1,764 km or 1,096 miles): it’s freakin freezing cold.

A chart I made to help put Puno's altitude in perspective.
A chart I made to help put Puno’s altitude in perspective.

There are no seasons in the traditional sense; the highs and lows vary only slightly between South American winter (July) and summer (December). The seasons do vary however in rainfall, the summer season receiving a lot more rain than the dry but sunny winter season.

So right now, late August, I think we’re getting into the shoulder season. I have seen some grey skies and rain since being here but I’ve also seen sunny dry days. The daytime temperatures are pretty bearable: 50’s and low 60’s (F) (10-15 C). But at night, the temperature drops into the 30’s and that’s when I really really feel the no-heating thing.

The biggest, fuzziest, softest hats that I probably won't buy but I kinda want to
The biggest, fuzziest, softest hats that I probably won’t buy but I kinda want to

So yeah by the way apparently Peruvians don’t really care about heating their homes, or even trying to insulate them for that matter. We have no heating in our building or office space, and it is frigid no matter what the temperature is outside.

I am cold.

I am cold when I sit down, I’m cold when I get out of bed, I’m cold when I try to make or eat something in the kitchen, I’m cold when I have to wash my hands with icey water. I’m cold nearly every single moment of every single day (laying down under the covers offers some reprieve but you would honestly need a ski mask that covers your face [or heating in the room???!] to actually feel completely and normally warm). I wear two layers of socks (wool) and two layers of pants and I am still cold.

There’s no escape from feeling cold and if you know me at all, you know that this is MY WORST NIGHTMARE.

Allow me to explain, using science of course, why being cold is the worst thing ever. Please refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs below. You will see various types of needs grouped and sectioned off into a pyramid shape. The idea here is that the needs at the bottom must be fulfilled before a person can attempt to fill the needs at the top.

where should freezing go in maslow's hierarchy?

Being a comfortable/normal temperature, for me at least, is a physiological need, so it belongs at the bottom of the pyramid. When this physiological need is not met, as in my case living in Puno, I cannot fill the needs above. You can understand how I dread very simple things like taking a shower (because it requires me to take off my clothes and expose myself to the air) since my basic needs are not met. And what about sitting at a desk and trying to do work, the very thing I came here to do? I know bathing yourself and being productive at work are not on the pyramid but I imagine they fit somewhere in the middle, above physiological and safety needs.

I think I have sufficiently addressed the “I’m freezing” part but in regards to the “there’s nothing I can do but write about it” part, Jackie and I do not have IRB approval yet for our project even though it was submitted three months ago. So I have nothing to do but write about how cold I am, because most of the time it is also the only thing I can think about.


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