For my first month in Quito the weather was amazing: perfect spring weather with the occasional breeze coupled with cool evenings, thus avoiding any hot, sleepless nights. While my host mother was constantly complaining of the cold in the evenings (and insisting that walking around barefoot was going to make me very ill), I was in weather heaven.
Or was I?
There’s something about being British that makes us constantly aware of the weather: too hot, too cold, too rainy, too dry, too snowy, no snow, etc. I swear I read an article during the recent British heatwave saying “Brits happiest with intermittent weather”, or something to that degree.
Not only that, but as a Brit I grew up with the rain. I swear my skin is slightly more impermeable than people from other countries. There’s a part of me that loves it, in my flat in Edinburgh we had wonderful big windows that I cursed during the winter but that during summer downpours I would leave wide open as I curled up with a good book and a cup of tea. Heaven. Then there’s my house in Devon with a thatched roof and a little bit covered outside my window that amplifies the sound of the rain, the perfect lullaby. Some people run away from the rain, I quite often run towards it, jumping around and dancing. Also, what child hasn’t made races out of the raindrops falling on windows?
Of course it goes without saying that there’s a part of me that hates when it rains and rains without stopping, or when I’m trying to get somewhere or I’m wearing the wrong shoes. Then rain genuinely sucks. I’ve had too many camping holidays and walking expeditions when it has not stopped raining and when little rivers have started to run through the tents. Last Christmas, floods shut railway lines, there was a lake outside my house, a river in the garden and we had to move the annual village Boxing Day duck race to a different place because the river was overflowing. Rain is a fickle friend.
So my first month in Quito may have had perfect weather, but something didn’t feel quite right. It was just that little bit too perfect. The Brit felt a little confused.
And then last Thursday, there was rain. Oh what rain! I could smell it coming from miles away (the smell of rain is the best smell in the world). There was a massive thunderstorm: heavy rain, hailstones, thunder and lightning with barely seconds between. All the sounds were amplified by the mountains, amazing rumbles and shudders as it felt like the universe was emptying itself out onto us. Snug in the office, I felt very happy. It was even considerate enough to stop before I had to walk home.
It has been raining on and off ever since and the ground and plants seem much happier for it.
However, I would be happier if it didn’t start to rain on me while I’m walking home in flip flops and no jacket next time. Today’s walk home was a little wet. Thanks a lot, rain.
Anyway, it’s nice to have a little imperfection sometimes. Now all I need is a decent cup of tea.