Before coming to the Netherlands, I read many blogs and experiences of people to familiarise myself with the Dutch culture and people. Many of whom said, and I quote: ‘The Dutch like to complain about the weather a lot. When it rains, they complain about the lack of sun, and when it is sunny, they complain that it is too hot.’ After facing some harsh weather cycles myself, I realised what they say about the Dutch was in fact true. And if you stayed here long enough, you’d probably complain too!
Each day the temperature exceeded 30 degrees, restlessness conquered, and dismay became a common trait among Wageningers. But this wasn’t the highlight of the situation. I was sitting there, exchanging pleasantries with my Dutch friends, and then one of them said: ‘You come from India; this temperature would be so easy for you. Think about us; it is so difficult for us to survive this heat.’ And that’s where the pleasantry ended, because it is hard for us too! And if there is any chance, it is harder for us than them.
Believe it or not, I was asked that very same question five times that day. After giving an individual clarification each time, I decided to write about it so that people don’t ask this question anymore. It is true that Asians like me are exposed to way higher temperatures for longer periods of time. We did grow up in hot living conditions, but that doesn’t mean we are naturally acclimatised to it. I will tell you why.
Like in the Netherlands, where people are equipped to cope with the low temperatures with proper heating systems and warm clothing, we Asians are also adequately armed to beat the heat. Most houses, workplaces and transportation facilities are air-conditioned. Moreover, every household has a pre-installed lifesaver, the ceiling fan. This simple yet super necessary appliance guarantees air circulation and constantly dissipates the hot air that surrounds you, thus putting you in a comfortable space.
So when we force ourselves to sleep with still and motionless air wrapping us, it is, on the contrary, way more miserable than normal. That’s why I say it is harder for us, because we carry the additional burden of giving up a luxurious habit – sleeping peacefully. Like giving up jet sprays was not enough!