Before coming to Taiwan I knew it was going to be quite warm I here, but as I would arrived in the end of summer I also knew that the temperatures would slowly be sinking. More than 30° something is indeed warm, but in Sweden that weather would just make you sweat a little and then you’d be fine. So I packed some light clothes for warm weather and left for Taiwan.
When I came here I soon realized that I was wrong – Taiwan, I totally underestimated you!
To begin with it isn’t really 30° something here in Hsingchu, but more close to 35° something. And if Swedish summer would ever have a day with that temperature we don’t know what the word humidity means. Now I know better.
Humidity means that you sweat without getting any cooler. It means that your clothes get wet, that your hands are always covered with this sticky-feeling. It means that you sweat in ways you never experienced before, at least not if you lived your entire life far up north. I am for example quite fascinated by the feeling of sweat slowly gathering below my ears and finding it way down under my chin. Or that I sometimes leave wet sweat-marks after sitting at a chair. No, actually fascinated isn’t the right word, I am disgusted!
Speaking of vocabulary, here I had to start using the word hot to describe the weather. Every time I say warm someone is correcting me. But seriously, in Sweden we only say warm. Hot is used for food (or other things) but surely not for weather!
A normal day in Hsingchu, Taiwan:
- Waking up. In order to not shock our bodies more than needed we usually keep our air condition on low effect. So when I wake up some days I’m already sweating.
- Taking a shower, getting ready. Before I even dried totally I’m sweating again.
- Getting out to take the bus. As I usually have to wait for the bus I am off course sweating again. The busses often have AC which I’m so happy for.
- Attending class. Maybe the AC is working, maybe not. If there is no AC some teachers want to switch classroom while others simply don’t care. I am quietly wondering how a teacher can stand teaching if the temperature is over 35°. I can barely keep my brain functioning!
- Lunch in the canteen. It is not hot in there, only warm.
- Afternoon means more classes or hiding in the cool library.
- Having dinner in the canteen and later returning home. After sunset the temperature sinks and it makes taking a walk very tempting. Think you can avoid sweating? Ha, no. Usually I’m really warm when getting back home.
- I’m wrapping un the day in the dorm with taking another shower.
- Going to bed, turning on the AC and trying to stop sweating.
I think people who live in this kind of temperature think it is normal to sweat. Maybe you get used to in somehow, or find ways to live a quite normal life anyway. For example I have seen that some Taiwanese always bring a small towel with them. If they need to look extra proper they will just take it out and wipe away some of the sweat!
So all people from cooler places out there: take humidity into consideration when thinking about where you are moving. And drink lots of water! But unless you want to challenge the Taiwanese way of thinking it better be some lukewarm water. Well, more about that some other day.