Yes, the seasons have abruptly turned and now Sprummer is in full swing here in Taiwan. What’s Sprummer, you ask? Well obviously the vicious sudden onslaught of sticky, hot, oppressive weather coupled with random torrential downpours and the unrelentless infestation of ants. In simpler terms, Taiwan’s wet, chilly winter really goes straight into full blown summer around April.
Being a person who dislikes hot immensely (one does not here question the fact that I want nothing more than to move to London), I find this exceedingly difficult. To console the melting, puffy, sticky mess that I become during less than desirable temperature conditions, I resort to some life-preserving tactics that usually work for me.
1. Problem: Ants. Yes, they come. I’ve tried the cinnamon trick to no avail. I don’t know the psychology of ants and indeed this is most likely a very difficult thing to study, but as soon as the weather turns warmer, I find them crawling in all the most likely and unlikely places. Under my suitcase, down the side of my toothbrush, up the wall, behind my wastepaper basket, inside the crevices of my desk, up the edge of my curtains, through the poorly sealed sides of my not defunct air conditioner, precariously close to my vitamins. None of these places are places where I would like to see them.
Solution: I suddenly become a master of steeling myself against emotion as I stomp and squash everything that moves. If this does not work (it doesn’t) then I will rush outside my room in a fluster, pointedly grad the can of insecticide, and spray it all over every blessed crevice in my room to keep the darn pests at bay. Everything barring areas I touch, that is. I still think that stuff is poisonous.
2. Problem: Being hot. I am convinced that I am allergic to heat. Symptoms range from swelling, headaches, boredom, stir crazy behavior, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, lack of hunger, and prickly skin and rashes. Sounds like an awful affliction, does it not? Back in the first months I was here, I can recall being so uncomfortable from the very moments I stepped into the sunlight of 7am to walk to our daily orientation seasons at the centre of town.
Solution: There are many solutions to this that I have found.
a. One of which is taking cold showers. I took cold showers until the end of October and I think the time will soon come when I again no longer feel the need to turn on the gas and steam up our bathroom.
b. Another solution is compression stockings. I don’t reserve these for hot weather, indeed I quite like wearing them all the time. Lest you think I am an old lady, I assure you that they do wonders for your circulation.
c. Keeping the doors and windows closed and covered. I can thank my lovely Mother for this tip. As crazy as she gets about it, I now understand and appreciate her efforts to keep the house cool.
d. Drink lots of cold water. During the winter and at the suggestion of my Taiwanese colleagues, I stopped drinking cold water all together because I was told it was bad for your body. I know, I know, I for anyone should know that there is no one ‘truth’ to health, but it also was unpleasant to be drinking cold water when it was heatless inside and damp to boot! Now that the hot weather has begun again and there is mostly no reprieve from the quickly skyrocketing temperatures, I find it necessary to keep at least three water bottles in our mini fridge which I can guzzle thirstily at moments notice.
3. Boredom and Restlessness. For some reason there is something about summer that gives me a strange duality between being bored out of my mind and completely restless and also entirely too exhausted to get up and do something. Paradoxical, I know.
Solution: Boredom sleeping and binge-watching Call the Midwife (or insert current GOOD show here) on Netflix. As a rule, I don’t watch TV (see my nose in the air?) but there are times when I can really get into something.
If you haven’t seen Call the Midwife, it’s amazing and exquisitely well done and you should glue yourself to the couch to watch all three seasons. I, myself, have not yet finished season 2.
Another marker of its being a quality show? The episodes are 58 minutes long instead of 23, so you know that there is actually a story line, not just something producers threw together to pacify an audience for 20 minutes after dinner.
Solutions to all things: Dreaming of home and planning all the vintage outfits I am going to sew.