If I had to pick the one thing about living in Hawai’i that I can’t handle it would be the humidity. I don’t mind the insects, frogs, chickens, geckos, heat, storms, tourists and high prices, but I have still been unable to make peace with the moist tropical air here. During the winter it’s not too bad, but during the summer and into early fall the humidity levels have just three settings: bad, even worse, and downright awful, and there is no off position. There are days where it feels like you’re living in a ball of hot, wet cotton.
Why is it so bad?
- We don’t have air conditioning (nor do most houses in Hawai’i, actually). The humidity is bearable if the tradewinds are blowing or it’s actually raining, but if not it gets miserable fast in the summer, and fans, ceiling and otherwise, can only do so much.
- One humid days I sweat. Not perspire – sweat. And, once I start sweating it’s like a switch has been flipped and I can’t stop. It takes hours for my body to reset its thermostat. I stay hydrated, minimize my activity and do my best to stay cool, but once it gets humid enough the sweating starts, even if I’m doing nothing more vigorous than reading a book, and just doesn’t stop.
I don’t know if all this sweating is just because I’m older or if it’s purely a Hawai’i issue. I’ve lived in humid areas before and don’t remember being this bothered by it. Other older women here have commiserated with me and seem to suffer more here as well, but others seem to deal with the humidity without problem. Maybe it’s just taking me longer to acclimatize then it did in the past. Brett and the girls are very physically active and sweat heavily when they exercise, but they take a shower, change their clothes and are good to go. I take a shower and I’m still wet and hot and miserable. And, if I do something too active when the humidity is bad, it literally zaps the energy right out of me, and takes me ages to get any of it back. I’m not doing much these days in the way of exercise, but thankfully haven’t gained any weight (so far) because I have been extremely diligent about limiting the amount I eat.
It doesn’t help matters either that our kitchen sits on the west side of the house, which is unprotected from the fierce late-afternoon sun. It’s bad enough cooking in there when it’s merely hot, but add in some humidity and it can be pure hell. I’ve gotten good about making sure the fan is pointing at me while I work in there, but even then I still usually come to the dinner table a hot mess and not in the best of moods, even if all I’ve done is cut up some cucumbers for a salad.
I know, I know – I am living in Hawai’i. It’s beautiful here, it’s paradise (really), and I feel blessed to be here. The humidity isn’t actually bad all the time either; the winter months are wonderful. I also love the way my skin stays soft here. I rarely need to use lotion these days unlike the buckets I went through back on the mainland. Here it would just be overkill (although I still wear sunscreen).
But when the humidity is bad, it’s very bad. I am so tired of sweating so much, but we still have a couple more months of “summer weather” to go. And when I’m miserable, well . . . lets just say I do my best not to make everyone else miserable. Word is that the humidity here this summer is the worst it’s ever been, and I can believe it. We’re all crossing our fingers that it doesn’t last as long as it did last year, and I’m already dreaming of November’s arrival.