Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Pasty is best

I have previously described myself as the kind of person who moves to Finland for the weather. For most of the year this is true - the climate here is well-suited to my pasty skin and heat intolerance. What I failed to take into account, however, is the fact that Finland is situated so far north that the continuous depression-inducing dark winter weather which I so love is balanced in the summer by continuous depressing (at least for me) heat and sun. The days in the Finnish summer are so long that the sun either doesn't set (above the arctic circle) or only sets for a short amount of time and doesn't even go far below the horizon. It's like solar ADHD. Here's a scientific diagram:

Unfortunately, when you tell people from other countries that it's unbearably hot, and the person in question knows you live in Finland (and what's more, voluntarily), the complaint elicits one of two responses:

Response #1 - the well-meaning but misguided comment
If you are wondering the same thing, please refer back to my incredibly academic diagram and bear in mind that Finland does not have polar bears or penguins, no matter how many times I've told you it has. I was just screwing with you. Sorry.

Response #2 - the surprisingly aggressive comment

I never really know how to reply to this. Please see above diagram. Perhaps I really should grow a pair and just go outside and continue living as normal despite the risk of boiling and/or melting to prove that I am definitely not a pussy (I've eaten hera), but for someone with such ridiculously pale, burn-prone skin who is half-convinced she can feel UV rays penetrating her skin I think I should probably just stay indoors.

I'm at Jukka's place, and like all Finns, he's decorated his house with thermometers so he can be constantly aware of the temperature. "It's 27 C in here!" he announces joyfully (because he knows the accurate temperature) yet follows it up with profanity, since 27C is just too hot.

"Can we buy a fan?" I plead. Unlike boyfriend, I can't really walk around topless since some clever bastard invented windows and I don't feel like flashing the whole neighbourhood. But Jukka is all

I bet his computers have fans. Hmph.

So I have resigned myself to not being in the vicinity of a fan for a while. I hope I have to go to the shop today because at least the shop is air conditioned. Until then, I am spending my time laying on the floor oozing distress. I'm laying on the floor because in a moment of heat delirium I remembered that hot air rises so I should probably be as low as possible. All this laying about on the floor feeling uncomfortable leaves me unable to lead a social life, since most other people love sunshine and heat, and choose the single hottest day of the year to go to the beach. I am sorry, other normal people, but I do not understand this practice. My reluctance to come along should not be taken personally, but I don't want to lay in unbearable heat, simultaneously committing genocide on my skin cells and dehydrating myself. But look, we're kind of doing the same thing! Laying!

What's that, sunblock, you say? I appear to be allergic to most kinds of sunblock, even the superhypoallergenicbaby stuff. My old physics teacher used to say "pasty is best" and discouraged us from reckless sunbathing. Since I can't really sunbathe (reck..fully? :D), the only remedy seems to be hermiting indoors until winter. Perhaps nature got confused and gave me summer hibernation. I'm like an inverted moomin. :o


  1. Like it, like it, Stace :) your blogs are always a good read and they`re so tongue in cheek, keep posting them, they keep us amused. lyl, ur muvver, lol xxxx

  2. Aw poor Stacy :( I totally understand. Believe it or not, coming from Saudi Arabia and from the hottest and most humid city there, I'm too sensitive to the sun and heat as well! It's SO MUCH HARDER for me here in southern Germany... at least I'm air conditioned 99.99% of the time back home! Sunlight feels even hotter here than back home for some reason. Can imagine your situation is like when the power goes down back home, oh my :( suffocating.. even if the longest it went was for like 2 hours, I sometimes just fell asleep/or maybe fainted in the form of sleep until it went back and AC came back on bringing life back :P I can only suggest that if you ever have to go out in such weather is to use an umbrella, otherwise try to wear long, light and loose sleeves and a wide hat, I couldn't wear short sleeves under the sun even in places where I could, like my university back home. You don't want direct sunlight on your skin. At home is another story :s Get a fan! Fill your fridge with watermelons and fresh fruit juices (don't tell me you don't have one o.O) I hope you like watermelon it usually helps and cools you off. (I think cantaloupe does too, but dunno I don't like it). If ice cream is a problem, then make your own popsicle by freezing fruit juice. How about hanging a sheer wet curtain on the window? would work only if there's some breeze outside and it's not dead still. If nothing works then consider finding a seasonal job in the southern hemisphere during Finland's summer ;)

  3. Brilliant advice! And I totally trust someone from jeddah on how to cope with the heat! :D Right now the air is so humid it feels like you're swimming and you start sweating the minute you move. :( But your advice was great! :)

  4. summer rulez