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Changes in the Gringo’s Perception of Cold in Latin America

Published December 22, 2021 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 0 Comments

I’m cold as fuck right now.

Well, that’s an exaggeration to be fair.

I’m not “pushing my way ankle deep through the snow at 5 below 0 temperature to get home from middle school” cold.

Nor am I “waking up at 6:50 AM to scrape ice off the windshield of my truck in the middle of winter” cold either.

By all accounts, saying I’m “cold as fuck” right now is a pussy ass thing to say.

But I do feel cold!

Which is actually, believe it or not, a welcome from where I was living before.

When I moved to the north of Mexico City three months ago, I spent time in 2 different apartments where you could literally just sit in a chair and do absolutely nothing and you’d find yourself sweating your ass off from the humidity inside.

The humidity coming from, if I had to guess, the fact that the rooms were near the top of the building and attracted more heat I suppose.

But still – it’s not unusual to find your room in Mexico City to be hotter than appreciated.

So having a room where I feel cold is actually welcome.

All I have to do is add a jacket and I’m OK.

And I do have to wear a jacket inside my room 24/7 because I literally would be shaking right now if I didn’t have it on.

Sometimes, believe it or not, I even have to double down and add a blanket because I might still shiver in the cold.

I sound like a pussy ass bitch, don’t I?

What happened to the old Matt that could stomach a moment to walk home from middle school in insane cold and snow or scrape ice off the windshield in high school?

This shit I’m feeling right now ain’t nothing.

And, to be fair, I sometimes laugh at Mexicans for how crazy they are with their perceptions of cold.

The Winter Coat in the Metro

Just yesterday, I was traveling around Mexico City looking for specific pharmacies and got all I needed to be done.

On the way back to Metro CU area, I noticed quite a few people in the same train as me wearing winter coats.

Honestly, I need to sneak some pictures of people doing this.

Where, when I’m in the train, I might find myself sweating from being jampacked into a train with so many other people and being forced to wear a mask inside.

Yet these folks are wearing fucking winter coats in the same space?

I don’t fucking get that.

I don’t think I ever will.

You see so many folks in Latin America – Mexico included – wear winter coats outside or in other odd spaces like the metro when it isn’t anywhere near cold enough to justify a literal winter coat.

Yet, over my time living down here, I think I do start to maybe understand their different perception of temperature a slightly bit more as I hinted at before.

Changes in Perception of Cold for a Gringo?

In my first year in Mexico City, I remember being at a small corner bar with a friend named Angie during the month of December.

We were sitting outside drinking some beer.

She was cold.

I wasn’t too cold.

There was a small chill that you could feel but I was overall feeling perfectly fine without a jacket even.

Angie needed a coat.

However, if I’m being honest, I would maybe be wearing a jacket if I was to repeat that moment again.

And I say maybe.

Just last week, I moved to this new apartment that I described before that is very cold inside.

When I arrived to move my stuff in, it was around 9 PM more or less and the landlord arrived like 30 minutes late more or less.

She had me standing outside with all my stuff waiting for her to arrive with some neighbor who was told to stand outside with me until she got there apparently.

We made small talk.

The lady standing next to me was wearing a winter coat.

Still shivering she was.

Cold as fuck to her.

To me?

She was surprised by my attire and thought “aren’t you cold?!?!”

I didn’t feel too cold but could understand how she did as it is December and there was a little bit of a chill.

Still, now that I live here, I really do feel cold if I’m not dressed up inside.

I got to have the jacket on and I got to have socks on or else my feet feel like ice.

Even my hands as I type this do feel a tiny bit cold.

It’s not annoying to me particularly because it’s not insanely cold compared to what I’m used to and I appreciate it feeling cold instead of insanely fucking hot like other places.

But my perception of what is cold has changed in my opinion.

If this was my first year in Mexico City, maybe I wouldn’t even be wearing a jacket right now.

But given that I haven’t seen an Iowan winter in almost 2 years, I really haven’t experienced how crazy cold things can truly be.

In short, while I’m not insane to be wearing a winter jacket in metro, I also have come to adjust my perception of what is cold a tiny bit.

And that’s the minor point I wanted to touch on today.

In my opinion, I do feel that our perceptions of aspects to life change as we live abroad.

As I wrote here, our perceptions of what is safe or dangerous absolutely do change after enough time living in Latin America.

For this article you are reading now, I’d expand that argument and say that our perceptions of what is cold or hot change are adjusted a tiny bit also over time.

Especially if they aren’t hit with a trip back home where real coldness can be felt again.

Not sure how many other gringos have experienced this change in perception of what is cold or hot after enough time living abroad but I imagine maybe a few others have.

Of course, a last minute irony on all of this is how folks from back home could never imagine a “cold Mexico.”

Whenever I do go back, sometimes I get a comment from someone asking “so Mexico huh? Where’s the tan? I thought it was very hot down there.”

Not in the apartment I’m living in!

That’s all I got to say for now anyhow on this simple topic.

Drop any comments below if you have any.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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