Rain in China is different. Right now, as I type this, a raging storm echos outside. I swear the thunder is louder here. Like a windshield in a car wash my living room window blurs perception with rain. It has been five straight days of on and off rain. I thought it rained a lot in Ireland little did I know that China had Ireland beat. Especially at this time of year when it is monsoon season. An umbrella becomes your new best friend because you never know when a downpour will strike next.
Downpours are not the only experience offered during Monsoon season. From the wisdom of Forrest Gump, “One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit. . . . Little bitty stingin’ rain... and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.” Do not mistake me though some days it clears and the sky offers up blue sky and white fluffy clouds which, let’s be honest, are few and far between in most parts of China.
However, unlike back in the states, rain does not relieve the pressure of humidity. You may step out of your apartment seconds after a downpours and still your lungs will become heavy from the unrelenting moisture. Moisture that is so heavy a swim through the atmosphere seems highly probable. Or the moisture is so much you are hesitant to move too much.
I thought rain would not faze my chinese friends but I was surprised to find out rain is treated almost as if it is snow. Students are late to class, a friend waited for an hour and a half to escape the rain. Most Americans would become too stubborn and just go, but lets face it, most of us are nice and safe, warm and comfy in our cars. Most of my students bike to class. It amazes me they can balance their bike while holding an umbrella for themselves. However it does become an annoyance when only four students turn up to a class of 30.
That being said thunderstorms are great motivation to write and become lost in thought. Everything seems richer in rain. Greener, more vibrant, more their natural color.
When it is necessary to go out in it it is always an adventure and an imagination conjurer. The other day, I walked home from class and realized the bike stands on campus have a similar plastic covering our (my roommates and I) sunroom in Ireland had. Hard blue plastic you would not think able to hold up the roof of a home. I stood under it, the bike rack in front of my apartment. For a second, just for a second I was transported back to Ireland and our shared dinner table in our sunroom. Our laughter, happiness, last minute studying and dinner parties.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
(insert motorbike alarm-- the same alarm that drove Lily and Robin nuts while waiting for the wedding dress shop to open on How I Met Your Mother)
I snapped back to reality and realized how much thunderstorms would now remind me of China. . . . Thought filled Sundays with nothing to do, naps, comfort, the heat, wet skirt hem from walking to class, deserted campus during downpour. Soon China will be the second place I will fondly remember.