Quito in the clouds
My mom is from Minnesota, so I grew up learning many different “midwesternisms.” One of my favorites is the constant conversation about weather. I was inspired to write this blog post when I realized that every email I have received or sent to my mom so far this semester has had something to do with the weather.
The most recent email my mom sent me detailed the inches of rain that they have gotten in Eugene during the past week. Rain makes me feel connected to home. When I hear the soft pitter-patter of rain on my hood I think of home, no matter in the world that I am. Hearing about the weather back home in Eugene or in Walla Walla helps me visualize the life that my family and friends are experiencing.
I have found that Quiteños have an interesting relationship with rain. Yesterday, I told my host siblings that I was going for a run in the park near my school. They both looked at me like I was crazy. I was confused, until my host brother told me that it was raining near the park earlier in the day and that it might still be raining. Why would I want to go running in the rain? I was too eager to go exercise to explain that if we didn’t leave the house in Oregon when it rained, we would be inside for 9 months out of the year!
For a year before I came to Ecuador, I watched the Quito weather on the weather app on my phone. Nearly every day was in the mid 70s with rain or thunderstorms. I was excited because I really enjoy thunderstorms. To my surprise, it has only rained a handful of times this semester and we haven’t had a single thunderstorm. I was confused until one of my teachers explained that because Quito is such a large city, it has many microclimates. Apparently, in southern Quito it rains and storms several times a week and that is where the weather monitoring station is. I live and go to school in northern Quito (25 km north of southern Quito) and due to the rain shadow effect, it doesn’t rain as much in the north.
I think one of the reasons that I enjoy weather so much is that it is in constant flux. The clouds are always moving and you don’t know what is going to happen next. Paying attention to the weather helps me feel a strong sense of place and connection to my physical location.