My Top Three Wintertime Woes in León, Guanajuato

Winter in León is nothing short of glorious when one has spent the previous fourteen years living in a freezing cold upper Midwestern state, covered by snow and ice for most of the winter season. Spending several months a year freezing to death was not my idea of paradise. In comparison to that, León IS paradise. However, winter in León can be challenging. This post is for those of you that want to know the “dark side” of living south of the border in the winter months. These are my top three problems living in León during the winter months.

First, most houses in León are not airtight. Most homes also do not have an HVAC system. Our house, which is a very common type of construction, is made of concrete with no way to efficiently heat or cool the house. Some people buy space heaters or AC units for their homes, but electricity is very expensive here and we have opted not to incur those costs. The windows and doors do not seal, which allows air, and scorpions, to easily enter the house. The sun warms the house during the day and then the cold air at night easily blows through the house. During December and January, the temperatures at night can drop into the mid to upper 30s (°F). That means our house can get pretty cold and stay cold until the sun warms it up the next day. The lack of a consistent, household temperature throughout the day is a challenge. Luckily, we brought all of our sweaters and blankets with us when we moved. Who knew we would get so much use out of them here?

Wearing a sweater during the day can be too much, but it’s very necessary after the sun goes down. Photo by Angela Grier.

Second, there is a rainy season and a dry season in León. From September/October to May/June, León receives almost no rain. Our bodies are not accustomed to being so dry. My family suffers from frequent nosebleeds and extremely dry skin. During these months, we struggle to stay sufficiently hydrated and oftentimes find that we wake up with headaches or bloody knuckles and lips if we didn’t drink enough water the day before. We have to be much more mindful of how we take care of our bodies here than we did while living in the Midwest. It is a constant struggle to find effective ways to keep our skin and scalps hydrated to prevent the flaking, cracking, and bleeding that we are prone to in the winter time.

The succulents do well in the dry season, but we struggle to stay sufficiently hydrated. Photo by Angela Grier.

Third, there is so much more dust everywhere in the dry, winter season. The sky often has a hazy yellow or brown color in the distance most days and every surface in the house seems to accumulate dust quickly. The lack of rain seems to encourage dust to remain suspended in the air and my family and I suffer from sinus issues during this season, which is probably a combination of the dry air and the increased atmospheric dust. With this year’s pandemic however, that has created additional stress – are these covid symptoms that we’re experiencing or the seasonal sinus symptoms? Thus far, it’s only been our seasonal sinus issues, thankfully.

We’re high, dry, and dusty in León during the winter months. Photo by Angela Grier.

Overall, living in León in the winter is a vast improvement over living in the upper Midwest. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But we do have some challenges that we have to constantly work to overcome. I would guess that no place on Earth is truly a perfect paradise. It’s only a matter of what challenges a person is willing to embrace that determines how much that location is suited to one’s specific desires.

I hope that you are enjoying your winter, wherever you are!

Published by Angela.Grier

I'm a wife of an engineer and a mom of two elementary-aged children, a boy and a girl. I was a fisheries biologist for several years, a stay-at-home mom for three years, then a middle school science teacher for three years. I currently live in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico with my family. I have a WIDE variety of interests, too many according to my husband. I quilt, crochet, knit, scrapbook. I sometimes play piano when I need peaceful moments. I love to cook, especially anything containing eggs (someday I need to raise chickens in order to feed my egg addiction). I read voraciously, books of all genres from Stephen King to Robert Jordan, Libba Bray to Edward Robertson, Grace Burrowes to Kim Harrison. I like to run, especially in races (I'm only a little competitive). I love to fish, camp, and hike wherever there are wild spaces. And if there were more hours in the day, I'd probably fill those extra hours learning a new skill or revisiting the ones I did not include in this list because it's been so long since I last did them.

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