I lost my umbrella…and then I understood

If you happen to mistake the day’s weather in Bogotá and instead of wearing a light shirt, throw on a cozy button up flannel, rest assured that you won´t be the only one dressed for the cold. The same can’t be said if you dressed for summer; sandals are taboo in this city. On a daily basis most Bogotanos  will don winter coat, boots, and scarf — rain or shine. The weather in Bogotá is a bit unpredictable, but this previous ‘summer’ , the skies were clear and days often reached the upper 60s and low 70s (Fahrenheit).

Yet despite the sunny love and loads of Vitamin D, I was baffled by the number of coats. I determined that my hiatus from the city made me partially immune to weather changes. Too eager, perhaps, to dance in the sun. Sure, evenings are a little chilly in the city, but are Bogtanos perpetually cold or fearful of unexpected weather changes?

from nonviolence website

from nonviolence website

Not long ago, a foreigner told me that he didn’t enjoy Bogotá until recently when the rain stopped. They say it rained a year straight. A year of sunny patches in the midst of a watery world. Well, since beginning this post, the rainy wonderland returned. After months of carrying around my umbrella ‘por si las moscas’ (just in case), I lost or misplaced it just as the skies opened up to water down my misunderstanding of Bogotá’s dressing habits.

Weather-talk, climate change aside, is considered a conversational faux-pas, implying boredom and disinterest. Yet, when my aunts discuss Bogotá’s pre-existing weather as if talking about a friend’s past relationships, I can’t help but be enchanted. They describe walks to school in cold mornings hidden by thick fog with a certain undecipherable nostalgia. Perhaps the daily winter wear is part of that nostalgia for the past mixed with being prepared for all kinds of weather in this city. I’ve stopped trying to understand thanks in part to the current rain, and since people aren’t suddenly wearing summer gear.  Much like an old friend I guess, you learn to embrace all aspects of the city…even if it means getting wet.


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