On The Goddamn Weather

On The Goddamn Weather


When I was twenty, I went to study abroad. It was my last year of college. I was going to central and south America to do an Urban Studies program. I didn’t give one shit about Urban Studies. I just wanted to improve my Spanish and get the fuck out of Northfield and move on after a kind of icky break-up with a long-term boyfriend.

The first part of the trip was like some kind of test. We were in Guatemala, in the Altiplano, and I got sick. Everyone got sick. You kind of learned to be sick in another country, in all the unpleasant ways that can bring: on an overcrowded bus, in a restaurant, in a hotel with a communal bathroom and newspaper for toilet paper. I got elevation sickness, I was tired, I didn’t know anyone. I got fleas; I swam in Lake Atitlan each morning to drown them. I boiled my laundry. I lost 15 pounds. It was kind of insane.

So by the time we left for the second part of the trip, in Bogota, Colombia, I was pretty battle-hardened. I ended up living with a family in a gated community in Bogota. Everything’s gated in Bogota. But still, it was a cake-walk. It was lovely. There weren’t usually chickens on the laps of people taking my bus to university every day. My host mother put an ashtray in my bedroom and ironed my socks and underwear. I walked every day to the same cafe after school to eat empanadas and smoke cigarettes with my classmates. After dinner with my host family, I’d go down to the corner store and drink a beer on the curb, bringing the glass bottle back to the shop keeper when I was through. I did Neruda translations with a Literature professor in her apartment every Friday in downtown Bogota. Things were great.

But I couldn’t really get into doing any work. Because the weather never changed. It was always sunny, always in the mid-60’s. The leaves didn’t turn. Every afternoon it rained, sending us indoors for a few hours, but that was as prohibitive as the tropical climate got.

That was the first time in my school career that I didn’t do any work and I didn’t really care. I didn’t want to do anything academic. I wanted to drink rum and lemonade. I wanted to go bowling in the Bogota Mall. I wanted to dance like a dumb gringa in the Zona Rosa. I just didn’t give a fuck.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that I’m stuck in Minnesota for life. I don’t think I can ever move any place where the sun shines indiscriminately and the weather is fair and temperate. I might be as mindlessly content as can be, but I’ll surely get nothing done.

One Comment

  • Kristen Lippert-Martin on Jun 07, 2013 Reply

    Good weather leads to profligacy. It’s a known fact or it would have been if the study linking to the two thing was better known. See, these two guys from Harvard did their research in a temperate, sunny, coastal area and then… aw, hell. They never bothered to submit their thesis and graduate and all that shizz. Who cares? Just order a couple more beers and put the phone on mute.

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