Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ode to Rain

Rain isn't really something I ever thought about. I would run from my house, to the car, to the office, to the car, to the gym, to the car, to the grocery store, to the car, to the house. Whew! Safe! Of course I would use the same umbrella I got for Christmas years ago. It hardly got used. If I didn't have my umbrella and I was running from the house to the car I would be ticked! My hair was getting messed up! Eek!

Then one day I decided I wanted to move to England.

People would tell me about the rain. I got umbrellas as going away gifts. As with most first-time US expats in England, I would look out at the rain and think that maybe I'll put off going to the grocery store and running those errands once the rain lets up. After day 4 of continuous rain and no food, I'd put up that umbrella and battle my way down to the shops. I had no car in England so I was schlepping my stuff up the hill (of course) through the rain. I learned to not pay any attention to the useless weather reports - 'periods of rain, periods of sun' - and just plan for rain. Remember that umbrella I used to carry around in my car? Yeah, it died an early death in England. I had 5 umbrellas in the 2.5 years that I lived there.

People tell you about the rain, but what they don't tell you about is the wind that usually accompanies it. Umbrellas and wind don't match. I started determining what level of rain made it worth opening my umbrella. The worst kind of rain is the heavy, swirling mist. It's heavy enough that it's annoying, but it's swirling all over the place so no umbrella can keep it off you. The obvious answer to keeping rain off of you and not having to battle the wind is a raincoat. I can't recall owning a raincoat anytime after the age of 5. No need when I always had a car to jump into!

Then I got engaged and started planning my move to Ireland.

First things first....get a raincoat. If the rain is bad in England, surely it's worse in Ireland! Umbrellas would be futile. I told my coworkers in England that I wanted a raincoat that was stylish and had a hood. I was laughed at! This coat does not exist. If this coat existed every girl in England would have one! So, I ended up with a Berghaus coat. I told the guy at the shop that I was moving to Ireland and needed to prepare myself! He assured me this coat would protect me against all elements. This coat stinks. The hood is too short so the top of my head and face get soaked. So, I've been in Ireland for 5 months now and my second umbrella is about to die.

I remember visiting Ireland about 4 years before I moved here. We were at a street festival and it started to rain. I was amazed at how the crowd handled the change in weather like it was no big deal. People weren't running for cover in the shops, they put on rain gear and covered the strollers with the clear plastic covers and just kept on enjoying the music. Spot the American looking like a drowned rat! I'm highly jealous of Irish women and their ability to not look like they just walked in the rain for 30 minutes. I remember the first time I met one of Wes' friends. It was raining and not only did she not have an umbrella, she didn't have a raincoat! She just had on a cute knitted cap and a little jacket. She pulled off her hat, shook out her hair a bit, and looked perfect. I wish I could say the same about me. I think they have a gene for this that American women lack.

Fast forward 4.5 years and I think I'm finally starting to get it. Rain doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to. I carry my umbrella with me, but it doesn't go up with the first drip of rain. Last night was the true test. It started to rain when I was at my bootcamp class. So far we've had really good weather and I've been a bit worried what would happen if it rained during class. Would I still go? Could I handle it? Would I melt? It started raining in the middle of class, so I had no choice but to keep going. And you know what? I felt like a total bad ass out there! I mean, it was raining and I was doing lunges and pushups! It's like I was giving Mother Nature the finger! I think she got the's a lovely sunny day today.


  1. Great post! I never did get the hang of it. It's always pissed me off. But, with curly hair, I usually managed to at least get that to look ok pretty quickly!

  2. I bought an umbrella that was unbreakable. And wouldn't you know it, the first time I used it (walking to the post depot, of course) it broke. Damned thing.
    In other news, a bunch of the ladies on your blog list will be going to the Bistro for brunch on Sunday the 13th if you're interested. We'll be there at 2:30ish.

  3. I hear you on this. I bought my rain jacket before I came here and I thought it was pretty cool. Now every time I wear it, I feel like a supreme dork. So I think I'm going to buy a nice stylish trench and experiment with waterproofing treatments for fabric. Back home I used to get this teflon-based spray from the store "Finish Line" that I used on one of my husband's jackets (cotton), and while it didn't make it waterproof, obviously, water does bead off it pretty well if I do say so. I know there's a spray called Fabsil Gold that can be used on fabrics (available in the UK), and a wash-in treatment that's available here in Ireland. I'll let you know the results! (First I have to buy said stylish jacket.)

  4. I'm glad I found this blog. Can I add you to my blogroll?
    p.s., I too have my token Berghaus "waterproof". :)

  5. Irish people are amazing with rain - they never use rain-jackets in the city. On the other hand, I seem to have lost that gene and walk around looking like I've just come off a Himalyan hike!!

  6. I had to laugh about the Americans missing a gene in regards to the rain. After visiting my in laws for seven years now, I successfully made it through an afternoon in city centre through the rain without being phased. I felt like it was a rite of passage. My husband even commented. Then two days later at an event at Powerscourt in Wicklow, is lashing rain and freezing cold and I just plowed along just fine. I was even sporting cute strappy sandals. All the other Americans were freaking out and I lauged at them a little on the inside!

  7. Hi Megan! Thanks for the comments! I'm impressed you've been able to acclimate to the rain just during the times you've visited. It took me 3 years of total immersion (literally) before I finally managed it!

  8. Found your blog off of a link from V. Wife and am currently reading through the archives to get me through the work day.

    I will have you know that this post made me stop and spend an hour looking at hooded raincoats that I can't afford and don't really need living in So. California. :-)

  9. Thanks for stopping by! I love that my blog is used as a procrastination tool. Perfect!

    I've totally given up on my raincoat. It's the pits.