Rainy Days

My fortune with good weather finally ran out. But I had a great streak, especially considering England’s reputation for rain. Apparently, it’s so notorious, that’s how a vast majority of the population begins a conversation. Somehow, though, I managed to go three weeks with only one rainstorm and a couple drizzles.

The trend finished in grand style in an Edinburgh graveyard, specifically in front of the tombstone of one “Tom Ridell”. For those paying attention, you may recognize that name from a famous book series known as “Harry Potter”, an alternative spelling of the name being that of the series’ arch villain. This was where JK Rowling strolled to look for inspiration for her character names. If an icy rain was going to dump itself upon me, reintroducing me to precipitation, I can’t think of a better location for such a change of pace.

A surprisingly nice aspect of the rain is the fact that it has pushed me inside a little more, helping me to slow down and reflect. An immediately entertaining result of this was having the opportunity to spend all afternoon discussing life in a pub with a Brazilian physicist, an Argentine lawyer and a Scottish journalist. Most of my remaining time in Edinburgh reflected this atmosphere, passing long hours in cafes and pubs.

Inclement weather can also, sometimes, be advantageous by providing an alternative view to the perfection that postcards prime us for. Beth, my current host and friend from IACS last year, and her friend brought me to the Tynemouth beach despite the misty, chilly atmosphere. The fog hanging over the coast kept any crowds at bay and provided a properly eerie atmosphere that I quite enjoyed. It was actually a lovely alternative to the stereotypically sunny day at the beach (though I’m hardly opposed to that concept).

It may be a result of the novelty and the company, but I even found the chilly air to enhance the indoor nightlife. After the beach, I went to the Tyneside Cinema, a historic and independent Newcastle establishment to see Grand Budapest Hotel (which I really recommend). The trek through the cold and mist made the large armchairs extra comfortable and the concept of drinking beer in a movie theater all the more enthralling. Even more enjoyable, though, was a night spent at a pub where local musicians gather in a corner to play traditional tunes on whatever instruments they bring. Anybody can join and it’s entirely for the pleasure of maintaining the music. Good music, good people. Hardly a better way to enjoy a pint.

The company of the week, of course, has made the inclement weather pleasurable in this way. Beth and her flatmates are the loveliest people and have been wonderful to spend time around. It’s meeting such people around the world then continuing to share our experiences with them that makes travel so meaningful.

This one stood out to me one night as Beth and I indulged in Indonesian food while practicing our bahasa with our waitress from Jakarta. While we continue to move on, the nostalgia for such an impactful program runs deep. It’s good to reminisce from time to time in order to keep us going.

Silat on the beach helps, too


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