Climate Shock and Season Confusion Part III: “But it’s a dry heat”

One of the other big differences between Houston and Prescott is the humidity.  Houston is very humid, causing the heat index to soar in the summer.  Prescott, on the other had is much dryer.

The first experience that I had with a dry environment was when my family took a road trip vacation in the west. We drove from Houston to Los Angeles and stopped to see many sights in-between.  It was the summer and uncomfortably hot, but a most peculiar thing was happening.  As we looked out at the Petrified Forest of northern Arizona, our sweat actually started to evaporate.

“It may be hot, but at least it’s a dry heat,” my Dad told my family. We bought him a t-shirt with skeletons laying in the desert and the saying “But, it’s a dry heat.”

Prescott is considered to be high desert which results in an interesting mix of desert areas and forested areas, where the climate transitions from a Phoenix-like desert and the forests of Flagstaff.  Prescott is just about right in the center of the state of Arizona and just about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff, giving it an interesting mix of landscapes.

Living somewhere without humidity meant changing a few of my daily habits.  I fully anticipate that I will lose any male readers in the next couple paragraphs.

When I lived in Houston I never really needed Chap Stick or lotion.  If I used them, it was to make lips look glossy or because it smelled good.  When I moved to Prescott, my lips were almost instantly chapped and my skin got dry for the first time in my life.  During the winter of my freshman year, my skin got so dry that it began to crack and bleed.  “What on earth is going on?” I thought to myself.  Since then, I’ve learned to carry Chap Stick and lotion with me all the time.

The dry weather isn’t all bad though.  I could never get my curly hair to settle down in the humidity of Houston.  Most days I would just tie my hair back in a pony tail. In the dry weather of Prescott, every day is a good hair day. Even on windy days, my hair still looks great – it just has better volume.  When I tried to straighten my hair in Houston, it would be wavy again by the time I got to school.

I went through a phase sophomore year where I straightened my hair every day and it actually stayed straight all day.   The only downside is that I have to switch shampoos every time I go between Texas and Prescott.  Moisturizing shampoos for dry hair in Arizona and volumizing shampoos for normal hair in Texas.

I look at the climate difference as something to learn from.  I could have gone to Daytona Beach where the climate is very similar to home, but I came here because the climate is so different, and somewhat because snow is quite a novelty to me.  The season confusion is definitely something I can cope with as I learn to appreciate the experience that the different climate has to offer.

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