Pauli Murray ‘22
As I prepared to leave Puerto Rico for Yale, everyone kept asking me if I was ready. Yes, I thought, but not for the cold temperatures.
So when I arrived to New Haven in the late summer, I was surprised that the weather was hot. More than surprised though, I was ecstatic. I could still wear the majority of my clothes, consisting mainly of crop tops, shorts, and strappy bodysuits. Walking to and from Old Campus to see my friends (limur here) would not be a problem even while wearing my favorite skirts and sandals.
Funny story: I did not think it would be that hot this day, so I still wore a sweater. Not the wisest decision.
A couple of weeks after arriving, my mom commented on how well I was adjusting. Having never lived anywhere but a Caribbean island, it was unusual for the cultural shock of leaving home for Yale to not be hard. But that was the reality. In my mind, I had built this idea that the real hardship would occur because of the cold climate, when I had to give up my regular fresh and breezy style for chunky snow boots and bulky coats. I was never really scared of the cold climate in itself, but scared of the stripping of my identity and my style. My new life would start when I couldn’t dress as myself, as I had always linked my Puerto Rican identity with my style. Would I still be the island girl when I couldn’t dress the part?
But as the days get colder and the sunlight hours get shorter, I have come to realize that while my style has changed because of the dropping temperatures, I’m having fun with it. Even though I now have to look at the weather app everyday (something I did not have to do and took for granted back in Puerto Rico), I can wear sweaters and long pants without sweating to death. I have been to introduced to a concept unknown, or untouchable, to Caribbeans: layering! I did not know I would be such a big fan of turtlenecks, specifically for layering underneath my favorite summer slip shirts. Also, who knew beanies and scarves could be stylish and make instead of ruin your look?
What was most unexpected, however, was how much I would learn to appreciate spontaneous warm, sunny days. Back home, these would be so constant that I would rarely take the time to leave the four walls in my home and bask in the beauty of nature. The happiness I now get when I open the weather app and it shows a temperature of above 60°F - warm enough to wear my white flowery dress - is incomparable and one of the best feelings I have had at Yale.
I can’t wait for my friends and family back home to see the temperatures in Connecticut and ask me how I’m dealing with the cold, because I will respond with complete honesty (as much as I complain about it): I am loving it.