Back in December when I went home to the Philippines for the holidays, it took me two weeks to get used again to the heat. All pervading, you live your life around it; you worked hard to be able to afford a home and personal transport with air-conditioning or be employed to begin with, by a company whose office building is a continually temperate 21 degrees. Men unabashedly use umbrellas and tote around ugly cross-body bags filled with a towel, facial astringent and face-wash. 'Fashionistas' pretend it doesn't exist and buy cardigans and jackets from Zara or H&M and layer up in December, as they enter one artificially-cooled environment to another.
In the last four years before I left for New Zealand, I had taken to buying Nike Dri-Fit clothes almost exclusively (not cheap nor acceptable in a lot of social situations) and wearing shorts and sneakers. In this get-up, I looked like someone who went to the gym at 8am and stayed there for eight-hours. At home, my brother and I were always topless (even dad when he was alive) decorum forgotten when there were guests around and it was always too late to put a shirt on before the introductions were made.
I arrived in New Zealand in the middle of winter, a season Kiwis love to hate, and I knew, shivering in 11 degree cold, that I had to stay indefinitely- it felt like home in that way you define home as being the place where you're truest to yourself and I say it unequivocally to anyone who asks- I hate the heat. I don't have to put up with it anymore, or live around it.
The world may be changing and headed towards higher temperatures than ever before, but I'm not going to worry about that for now.
I'm just going to take it one winter at a time.