I can’t go to the shop and I don’t want to go to college. What I want is to sit in my bed sipping hot chocolate.
But I have no hot chocolate. And it’s raining.
Maya Angelou once said ‘You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights’.
It’s been raining all week, it started on St. Patrick’s Day. Fitting, eh? We thought it was exciting; Irish weather on an Irish day. But we soon realised we were not equipped.
For two days I ran between my house and the university; a to b, b to a, feeding off the remaining food supplies in my cupboard. For breakfast, I’d tried experimenting with something new and had bought rye oats instead of normal oats. I soon realised my experiment had failed when the rye oats refused to make porridge, but I had myself believe they were perfect for an entire rainy week. And although it rains nearly every day at home, I wasn’t prepared. I assumed it would pass within a day or two and refused to buy an umbrella until the third day struck and my hair was beginning to resemble an unshorn sheep. I gave in –
Because when it rains in Ireland, there are many different reactions, but here, not so much. They all buy umbrellas. In Ireland there are those who wear an anorak with waterproof hiking boots and shuffle from place to place, right hand up at their scrunched up face clutching their hood. Organised.
There are those who have no waterproofs whatsoever and pretend it doesn’t bother them by nonchalantly strolling about the place wearing clothes with dark patches. ‘Cool’.
There are those who wear knee high wellies and Paddington-Bear style coats. The Tourist.
There are those who place whatever it is they’re holding on top of their heads, sacrificing their freshly bought book or groceries to keep their hair perfect. The Fashionista.
In Cádiz, every single person has an umbrella. I saw one man holding an open umbrella in one hand and another umbrella by his side. I guess he was scared the first would break and he’d end up umbrella-less, looking like a tourist.
Something as small as the rain can tell you quite a bit about a person. Usually a lot about their hometown as well.
The Cautious One: My Chilean friend told me that she’s never gone to school while it’s raining. When it rains in her city, the entire city is shut down; all schools are shut and no one goes to work. It only happens about once a year and they all fear for their houses. She couldn’t comprehend having to go about ordinary life in the rain.
The Dramatic Foreigner: A French acquaintance refused to go to work because she couldn’t bear cycling in the rain. The next day she took the bus.
The Scaredy: My Spanish teacher waited at the university entrance for her bus which stopped directly outside the university. When she walked the three steps to her bus, she put up her umbrella.
The Caring Mother: An Italian classmate’s parents had come to visit and his mother was spending the week indoors cooking homemade pasta dishes served with rich tomato sauces, much to his delight.
The Clueless Optimists: My Mexican roommates were storing their umbrellas in the bath. I was greeted by two enormous black umbrellas wide open in the bath-tub upon entering my bathroom. I’m not sure if they’d ever used an umbrella before so I didn’t dare mention how it’s considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.
So maybe you can learn a lot from someone by how they react to a rainy day, but I think that previous experiences cause people to react differently because that’s all they know. It’s what comes naturally to them. I used to see no problem walking 40 minutes to college once I had a rain jacket on. ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’, and here without a rain jacket and normality to protect me, I’ve turned into one of those people who buys an umbrella, runs everywhere in fear, hides indoors and complains. I think I’ve acclimatised well.