I am one happy girl today – it’s raining! When I woke up this morning, it felt unnaturally dark, or at least darker than it usually is at that time in the morning. As I stumbled to the bathroom for my shower, I noticed the sound of water hitting pavement. Though I was confused for a second in my morning haze, wondering how the shower started without me, it only took a moment to realize the sounds were coming from outside. I rushed to our upstairs patio – lo and behold, the first, hard rain since spring. I couldn’t see the Rock of Gibraltar through the thick downpour. I am officially the crazy one that craves drizzle, or thunder, or a hard downpour.
However, I think this brings a great opportunity to explain something to my American friends. In the US (for the most part), rain doesn’t hinder your day-to-day comings and goings like it would if you lived in Europe. I know that if I were still living in Texas, I would simply cover my head or use an umbrella for the brief run to my car, and then from my car to my place of employment. Many places have parking garages that allow you to stay dry. There are sky-walks in major cities that connect hotels and hospitals to huge shopping centers.
Over here, it is a much different experience. Take today for example: Matt and I drove to the border as we always do. The queue to drive into Gibraltar was far too long to wait in, especially since Matt had a meeting to make. Therefore, we had to go with our daily routine of parking in the dirt parking lot on the Spanish side of the border. Because of the downpour, the dirt parking lot was now a mud parking lot, scattered with puddles the size of small ponds. We parked in the rockiest area we could find and prepared ourselves for the long walk to the border. We zipped up our wind breakers and I tied the hooded part tight to my neck. For good measure, I wrapped a scarf around my head as well – I wasn’t going to let the rain ruin my hair. We then trudged through the mud and water to the border.
By the time we made it, our shoes were already soaked through. Sure, I have boots I could have worn (we did live in Ireland after all), however we were caught off guard by the downpour this morning and didn’t have time to search through our winter/Dublin stash. I’d thought ahead, though, and threw a second pair of shoes into my bag for the office before leaving.
At the border we had to walk with the traffic, because a menacing pool of water had formed in the narrow stretch of pedestrian walkway, making the path impassable. Once on the Gibraltar side, we still had at least a twenty minute walk, or we could wait for a cab or take the bus. Waiting for a cab would mean standing in line in the rain. Taking the bus would mean walking a bit further in the downpour, but we’d be drier faster once on the bus. We chose taxi, because the line wasn’t very long, and we were sharing a small umbrella. When we finally made it to the office, I swapped out my shoes, took off my wind breaker, and was happy to find that my hair was still in order and most of me was dry.
Keep in mind that while I was living in Dublin, this was more of a daily occurrence, but there were some differences. Add whipping wind that doesn’t allow you to use an umbrella. Add a walk to the tram, then a twenty minute walk through the city to the office. Add cold and frigid temperatures. In Europe, it’s not so easy. You cannot simply hop in your car and drive door to door. I am a huge proponent of public transportation, however days like these remind me that life is quite different over here. I am by no means complaining – take the first sentence of this post as proof! However, I thought it would be fun to share how different something as minor as going to work can be when the culture doesn’t allow for the ease or preference of staying dry.