Monday August 12, 2019

When it rains it pours? The true answer is sometimes. Today for instance was a delightful sprinkle. Our Midwest Summers can produce wild and unpredictable storms, but today was different. I had planned to take a brisk walk this afternoon and just a few steps in, the drizzle started. It was glorious.

Part of my fondness for this kind of spritzing rain comes from a 6-week stay I had in the Seattle/Tacoma area five years ago. I was visiting for one of my physical therapist assistant clinical rotations and staying with a family who agreed to host me. The morning after my arrival in Tacoma I set off to see a friend in Seattle for the weekend. It’s the Pacific Northwest. Of course it’s raining! I had no car so walking and public transit were my only means to get around affordably.

I packed up a weekend bag and set off on foot wearing a light jacket and a suggestion from my host family that it was in bad taste to bring an umbrella with me. I soon found out why. You don’t need to worry about getting wet when it’s barely a sprinkle! The dad of the family called to see how I was getting by and kept apologizing for the terrible weather and all the rain we were having. I could not help but chuckle at the mere slight inconvenience and the huge disparity of what the locals consider rain. This was barely a mist.

Now if you want to talk about real rain, I have to take you back a few years prior – to my 4-week stay in Costa Rica eight years ago. I was also staying with a host family, but this time studying Spanish at a small language school. I was informed by the family that they had obligations, so I decided to do some exploring since I would be on my own to take public transportation to and from school starting the next day. With detailed bus instructions and phone numbers, I set out for the afternoon. I was given the warning that it being rainy season which meant that although sunny now, there would likely be an afternoon rain.

Getting to town was easy. I found the school remembering where my host mom had showed me around in her SUV the day prior. I had a delightful experience walking around and checking what was near the school. The weather looked like it was going to turn soon, so I made my way to the bus stop. “Curridabat La Lia” was the bus I was told so the first “Curridabat” bus that came by, I got on. Soon though I realized something was wrong. We were not going anywhere I recognized. And, it was now raining. Pouring really. The kind of rain you expect in a tropical environment but until you’ve experienced it first hand, it is surprising. I decided I needed to get off this bus and go back the other way towards where I had started. And boy did I get wet. Even with an umbrella and a jacket, I was getting DRENCHED.

Three buses later and I came to the end of a bus route in an area I did not recognize. I decided to try asking for directions with my muddled Spanish. I am grateful for my Aunt Phyllis who taught me how you are never lost, you are just on an adventure. While I got some good verbal directions, I am not good at remembering more than a little bit. Thankfully I started on the right path and nearing my host family’s home. And it was raining again. I finally walked into their home soaked and worn out from the long trek back on foot. But I was safe again with a fun story to share. And a bit of gratitude that I had experienced quite the rain and circumstances did indeed pour. I had survived and learned. And eventually learned that “La Lia” was just as important a detail as “Curridabat.”

So yes. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it pours. Neither are good or bad. They are just rain. You get to choose how much they affect your happiness and enjoyment of life. The rain can be the central nemesis in your story, or a humorous obstacle you overcome in your journey. Know that it is only temporary and takes many forms. But you get to choose how you look at it.

With love and light,

~Bill

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