Sometimes, the simplest things can bring the most joy, such as a tropical downpour. While at home I generally associate the rain with cold and sogginess, here it brings a pleasant breeze and cuts the humidity, so at night the heat index is only 30 degrees instead of 34. And everything is already soggy from humidity anyway, so, there’s no difference there.
One rainy day in particular, a couple of weeks ago, turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days we’ve had in Surabaya, just from playing in a giant puddle. This was at the middle school where we have music lessons.
The day started off dreary and heavy, with low dark clouds concentrating the smog to a stifling level. We were in the midst of fighting hard to get a more balanced schedule, and many of us still suffered from heavy culture shock, so there was little motivation and tensions were fairly high. We danced in the morning, and the director of tourism paid us a surprise visit to see our sorely unprepared routines, further exacerbating frustration in the director, the choreographers and us.
Rumbling thunder outside, with the drenching sweat weighing us down seemed perfectly metaphorical for the building storm we felt would soon let loose. Both the physical and theoretical squalls were tangible in the classroom air when lunchtime rolled around. Thankfully our wonderful cook, Mbak Kiki, had a birthday, so we were able to distract ourselves by celebrating with her.
Ucan (oo-chan), the second-in-line-to-the-director-but-actually-does-the-work, brought in a delicious chocolate cake, lifting everyone’s spirits dramatically. After everybody got a piece, there was still plenty left over, so one of our more mischievous members started attacking faces with the icing. A cake fight quickly broke out and we eventually had plastered each other in chocolate war paint.
During this time, the sky finally opened up, letting loose a deluge that kept going. With that, we learned that the gutters had not been cleaned for a long time, because the overhang outside our classroom quickly formed a waterfall, and then the hallway filled up to our ankles.
One of the dancers and I went outside to wash the icing from our faces in the new sink, and started to lightly splash at each other. Jay, our instigative Fijian, saw, and decided to step up the game and began a full on water battle. Soon enough, there was uproarious splashing, slipping and sliding among a small group, and then we reached the cathartic moment when all but a few group members threw decorum to the wind and joined the fray, finally expressing the true sense of fun that hid beneath the false sense of order enforced by a certain higher power.
|You’ll notice Jay tends to be the center of the “mischief” (the guy with the blue shirt)|
|The child belongs to the cooks, don’t worry|
Some members held out, but we managed to (literally) pull almost the entire Tydif team outside with the help of Jay. Even the director’s husband and our drivers jumped in, starting a wrestling match and finding props to project the maximum amount of water onto others.
|Few escaped unsoaked|
This could not have come at a more perfect time. Looking back, it seemed like a fairly important tipping point that could have gone the wrong way. Thankfully the storm ultimately provided the opportunity to make things better, and have the tension cut in a positive way. Of course, since then we’ve had plenty of trials and frustrations, but the storm certainly pushed us in the right direction.