Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Swiss summer

So, it turns out that Switzerland decided to skip spring entirely (who needs crisp weather with bright green wonderfulness everywhere?) and has now careened directly into summer. Hot summer. Icky, super sunny, rather sticky summer. The Swiss don't believe in air conditioning in individual homes (wanna get cool? Go hike up a mountain, check out the temperature at the top). And even in malls, (some) trains, and other large public areas that are air conditioned, it's very different from in the US - the temperature seems to be set higher. Which could be nice - there is no need to carry around a sweater for the grocery store, for example. However, it also means that I never actually feel entirely cool.

What's super fun to coordinate with the first heat wave of the summer? Why, working out of course! For the past three weeks, I have been working to get back in shape, which involves 30-60 minutes of looking like an idiot to anyone who would happen to glance in our living room window. Whenever I decide to get in shape (it happens about once a year), my body never seems to want to lose weight or tighten up. Instead, my body decides that it will re-learn how to sweat efficiently. So that's where I am now. My groceries are still heavy and I still have a little muffin top, but man, I can drip sweat with the best of them. Which means, of course, that my body is poised to begin sweating when I just vaguely think I might be warm - which here, means even in places with A/C. In the US, I'd get headaches in the summer from the heat contrasting with the unnatural A/C coolness (or downright chill). Here, I just get headaches from dehydration because I never, ever stop losing water.

Some people look like this after they work out. I do not.

This is closer to reality - but without the body to go with. I couldn't actually find a picture online that shows exactly how red/splotchy/sweaty I am. Probably because nobody is stupid enough to post such unflattering pictures online.
So how hot is it here? It has been up to the low/mid-30s (centigrade) each day this week. What does that mean in Fahrenheit? Hell if I know, I've spent the past five months trying to figure out what Celsius feels like (science has given me reference points, but there's a difference between knowing refrigerators are kept at 4C and actually feeling what 4C is when you step outside). Ok, I looked it up: 33C is apparently about 91F - now I feel all justified for complaining, because damn, that's hot.

I am not the only one who feels the heat. I didn't even know the Swiss owned summer clothes, but apparently they do, because short shorts and flip flops have suddenly appeared everywhere. Also, half-naked people. In fact, as I type this, the lawn behind our apartment building is being mowed by an old man without a shirt (I accidentally typed this word first as "short," then "shit." I amuse myself). And yesterday, I was on a bus that drove by a construction site and about 1/3 of the workers were shoveling asphalt and driving heavy machinery in just a pair of shorts and a hard hat. It seemed both terribly illogical (any sort of accident and that would really hurt!) and logical (well, it's hot out!).


  1. Come to NC! It's hot but we have A/C and pools!

  2. This heat is killing me! I wasted about 30 minutes yesterday in the Migros in Bern just because they had air conditioning.

    A common occurrence around our apartment is an elderly gentleman sunbathing in a black speedo. If only I had that much confidence.