Abrígate!

We are well into fall here in the southern hemisphere. We’ve had a few days that have been down right cold and had me dreaming of Magaluf holidays. Magaluf, for those of you who don’t know (like me) is a resort town on the Spanish island of Majorca, and let me tell you, as I’m cuddled up here under a fleece blanket wishing I were wearing finger-less gloves: I would love to be vacationing there now!

But back to reality. Even though I don’t necessarily believe that temperature causes illness, I have to say that quite stereotypically, I got sick just as the temperatures dropped. Of course all of the Chileans in my life (except for the ones that know me too well) commented about how the changes in temperature were the cause of my sickness. It was the heat in the office, it was because I was riding my bike too much in the cold, it was the warm days and cold nights, and it was because I wasn’t bundling up enough.

Abrigar, in Spanish, means to bundle up, and it’s a good word to know, because you’ll hear it a lot in Chile. Chilean mother’s everywhere can be heard telling their children: “Abrigate bien!” or “Bundle up well!” This means wearing a camiseta (thin long-sleeved undershirt), a sweater, scarf and jacket on top, pants or polar lined tights on the bottom and good shoes with warm socks.

When I’m home for the weekend, I dress like this because my apartment is cold! (Or I wear a fleece blanket around like a cape, but that’s just me.) However, when I am out and about in the world I have a few problems with this mentality. First of all, my office has central heating. If I dress as described above, I am hot and miserable all day. Second of all, I walk or bike. As someone who believes sickness comes from germs, I avoid the metro as much as possible. It’s a cesspool of germs! So when I walk or bike, I get hot and end up carrying my scarf, jacket and sweater in my arms or putting them in the bike basket. It’s awkward.

So, world, that is why I am not abrigada. When I was sick last week, I got chewed out for being desabrigada (unbundled?) many times until I finally started lying and saying I was wearing a camiseta de polar (a polar undershirt) even though I wasn’t, just to get people off my back.

Consider this your warning. If you’re in Chile in the winter, make sure you’re abrigada or face the wrath of every Chilean you may meet. Between that and the cold, it will make you wish you were on the next plane to Magaluf.

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7 thoughts on “Abrígate!

  1. Precisely. Sickness comes from germs, not cold. If I had a quarter for everytime someone said I was going to DIE from not drying my hair or wearing a scarf, I’d be a millionaire, but no one tells me to wash my hands or cover my cough. I’m actually fighting off a cold right now that I believe I caught on the metro as the guy coming off coughed his plague into my face. Gross.

    • I have contemplated wearing one of those little white masks on the metro. Not because I am sick, but because everyone else is and could potentially contaminate me!

  2. “Or I wear a fleece blanket around like a cape, but that’s just me” – This is my life. Hahaha.

    I do the same! I take the Metro and always end up taking off my coat and scarf because I’m dying with the heat. Plus, back in February everyone here was still walking around in scarves and freezing to death when I was feeling like it was absolutely booiiiling so clearly hadn’t got used to the climate yet. 😛

    I will prepare to bring a ton of layers when I go to Chile. 🙂

    • Yeah, seriously! I actually got scolded by my host dad this weekend for not being “abrigada” and having wet hair, so it’s not just the ladies!

  3. They have a serious problem with seeing a bare neck, it’s like it doesn’t matter how much else you are wearing, if they can see your neck, you’re gettin a comment.

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