Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dirty Feet and Other Hazards of the Jordan Climate

By this point in my life, I’ve experienced all kinds of weather and climate conditions. I’ve lived in France, where my hair curled up like a poodle’s and it rained every single day. I lived in China, where I had to take showers twice a day to get the humidity and pollution out of my hair, and it STILL curled up like a poodle’s. I’ve lived in Missouri, where I learned to drive on ice and appreciate air conditioning in the same city. And last but not least, I’ve spent at least a third of my life in Lubbock, Texas, where residents have never even HEARD of humidity. So needless to say, I’m used to dry. Jordan, however, is a whole new kind of dry. And with that dry heat comes a whole host of new hygiene problems I’ve never experienced before.

First of all, let’s talk feet. My feet are dirty. My feet are so dirty, in fact, that washing them only removes the first layer of grime and dust.

In China, I pretty much did nothing with my feet besides wash them, and I was fine. In Missouri, I would use a pumice stone on them maybe once a week just because I wear sandals so much. In Lubbock, I would up that number a little more, maybe scrub them with a pumice stone every few days to get the dried skin off. But in Jordan? A pumice stone is more than just a tool for removing skin. It’s intrinsic to getting the dust off your feet, even if just for as long as it takes you to wander into the rest of the house.

In addition to the pumice stone I’m using every single morning and sometimes at night, I’ve had to invest in some extra-strength foot cream to keep my feet from drying out entirely. Note: this does not make my feet soft. It merely makes sure I can’t wound anyone with sharp edges of dry skin.

Actually, my feet are doing really well right now after the spa treatment I got on my birthday, namely because the 15 layers of calluses she scraped off have not had time to rebuild themselves. Perhaps here I’ll have to make pedicures a monthly part of my beauty regime.

So my feet are dry. But the rest of my body isn’t affected at all! No no, I’m just kidding with you. My skin tends to suck up moisture like a vacuum actually. After my morning shower, my elbows are headed toward being considered dangerous weapons themselves and can easily absorb a handful of lotion. Even weirder, the skin under my chin slash right around my jaw line has been drying out lately. I think it’s because it still gets the chemicals from my face wash on it, but I don’t always hit it with the lotion that I put on my face. So now I’m also dowsing my neck in lotion.

Speaking of face wash, I’m using up that bottle like it’s going out of style. I come home at night and feel so dirty that I wash my face all the time. My shampoo and conditioner are also disappearing at ridiculously rapid speeds. The shampoo goes fast because the water pressure isn’t really high enough to spread it out through my hair; I always have to get more, and I use a literal ton of conditioner every morning because my hair is so dry. And this from the girl who usually has enough oil in her hair to start a car.

All in all, I’ve had to seriously adjust my bathroom routine just to look normal here, which is all kinds of fun. Maybe once my body adjusts, I’ll stop spending an hour getting ready every morning. But then again, why should I worry? If anyone says anything, I’ll just slice them open with my elbows.

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