Monday, June 27, 2011

Liquid Sunshine?

When I woke up this morning it was raining, and it did not stop all day.  After experiencing beautiful weather for weeks, it was the first day where the weather remained rainy and overcast without any sign of the sun.  It reminded me of Chicago.  In fact, this rainy day is the only thing that has reminded me of Chicago since I’ve been here.  Yet, most St. Thomian’s seem to have an unusually positive reaction to the rain.
I’m not clear as to why people down here like the rain, but they undoubtedly seem to feel up-lifted by the change in climate.  While my cable guy spent an entire day setting up our account last month, it started raining on and off.  Instead of complaining about having to work in the rain, he welcomed it by referring to it as ‘liquid sunshine’.  When I got to work today and asked one of my co-workers how she was doing, she responding by saying, “I’m great.  It’s raining, isn’t it?!”  Another one of my co-workers told me that she’s always liked the rain, but particularly likes an overcast day since it’s a welcome change from the bright sunshine that we experience every day in St. Thomas.  Huh?
Since I moved here to escape gloomy weather, this is incomprehensible to me.  I find the rainy weather in St. Thomas to be hugely disappointing.  I look forward to a bright sunny sky every day, and I’ve gotten to the point where I expect it to be a nice, clear, warm day.  I’d even go so far as to say that I feel somewhat entitled to beautiful weather.  After all, didn’t I leave my entire life behind in return for warm, sunny skies?  So, on a day like today I actually feel a little cheated.
However, even if I hadn’t experienced the blustery winters and damp cold springs of Chicago, I still don’t understand how this rainy day would be an acceptable change in the elements.  For one thing, the rain brings unbelievably humid, sticky air.  Currently, I can feel my skin stuck to the leather chair that I’m sitting in.  In addition, anything that’s cloth, like our bed linens and clothes, become damp.  What were once dry, clean clothes hanging in our closet are now turning into spotted, mildewed, dirty laundry.  It’s even too humid for my hot pink nail polish to stick around.  In fact, I painted my nails last night and I still don’t think they are dry. 
In addition, the contrast between the moist air and the slightly cooler temperature can be a little confusing.  This morning, I endlessly stared at the clothes in my closet - unsure if I should dress for mildly warm weather, or just warm weather.  Finally, I decided to put on a pair of khaki pants and a long sleeve top, thinking that pants would be good for a more temperate day.  However, I was freezing in my office, since the AC was able to run at full blast without any interruption from the sun beaming through the windows.  Even my car appeared to struggle with the contrasting weather.  When I turned on the defogger, the inside of my windshield cleared up quickly, but the cool air conditioning on the inside of the window, hitting the warm air on the outside made the outside of my windshield fog up.  I couldn’t win.      
The only other things that seem to like the wet weather better than the local islanders are the mosquitoes, which only further reinforces how strange it is for people to be okay with this mugginess.  I’ve already commented in other posts about the mosquitoes, but I can’t reinforce enough how thick and vicious they can be.  The fact that I recently learned about dengue (den-gay), which is the Virgin Island’s version of malaria, isn’t helping.  And, I could probably do an entire posting on the strangest places that I’ve gotten bit, but being bit on top of another bite is a distant first to any of the other places.  So, I put on bug spray every night when I get home.  It’s a ritual now.
Alas, tomorrow is a new day, and like most days it’s likely to be 85 and sunny with only a 30% chance of rain.  All of the dank air will be pulled away quickly by the warm sunshine, and it’s not likely that we’ll get another gloomy day like this for the foreseeable future.

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