I can’t stand the heat. It’s driving me nuts. I’ve never been one of those people who longs for the heat of summer — I’ve always been someone who would rather be too cold than too hot (my philosophy is that you can always put more layers on, but there are only so many you can take off). I hate being sweaty when I’m sitting still — not my style. It’s not super hot here . . . 85 or so during the heat of the afternoon, but it varies between 5 to 10 degrees hotter than that in our apartment. I’m used to setting my air conditioning at home at a max of 72, so this is rough for me. Benjamin seems unfazed by it, but Liam is sweating all day, and we’ve started going out in the afternoons just to get out of here at the hottest part of the day.
We have huge, beautiful windows which, when opened, allow a great cross breeze and really cool everything off. But, these windows are about 5 feet tall and open like French doors — each has a radiator positioned directly underneath it, so even though the sill is 3 feet off the floor, it is not out of the reach of a 2 year old. And we live on the 6th (also top) floor. So, we can’t open the windows when Benjamin is awake. They actually have a funny design that allows us to open a single pane of the window about 4 inches, which allows the air to move a little, but we’re pretty stifled up here.
The whole attitude towards heat is different here — no one has air conditioning, and the Viennese alter their dress very little, even when it’s very hot outside (3 piece suits, dresses with tights, jackets and even scarves are common to see). I don’t know how they do it.
I think that it’s similar to how we deal with snow in the DC area. We don’t get a ton of snow (winter of 2010 notwithstanding) so when we do, we close everything down, do our best to get it out of our way (kind of) and move on. We’re really just gritting our teeth, closing our eyes and pushing through: we’re surviving, we’re not thriving. Besides, it’ll be gone in a few days. We don’t invest a lot in dealing with snow, because it’s just not a space we need to live in for very long.
I think the heat is the same here. It’s about the same here as it is at home, temperature wise (although a lot less humid) but it won’t be as hot for as much of the summer as we experience at home. So, rather than adjust their surroundings to be something they can thrive in, they just grit their teeth and push through.
I can appreciate the Viennese (and, I think Europeans in general) being steadfast in the face of the heat — I can see that if it isn’t bad for too long, they don’t have the requisite motivation to alter their homes or their wardrobes significantly for it. (Although I do wish they at least put ice in the drinks.) I also hear it’s something you get used to (I hope so).
Dan brought home a fan today. I think it may be the best gift he’s ever brought me.