Chasing the Storm

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While this blog title sounds deep and philosophical, I can safely say that there is absolutely nothing profound in the statement. I seem to gain a reputation here for (quite literally) chasing storms. I don’t know why I do it, but I always seem to get caught up in the middle of one. We’re talking actual storms here…not the metaphorical emotional storms that you overcome within yourself…no. This is the MONSOON kind of storm we’re talking about. You’d think that after 9 months of living in Thailand, I would take a hint of when it is going to rain…but I don’t. I still don’t.

If you remember my post about the first day of school last year, you’ll recall that I gave students quite the impression. I was a deer-in-headlights, naïve 18-year-old who just moved to a foreign country and wondered why on earth that was a good idea. To top it off, I took on the new blue smurf look when my blue white board marker bled all over my hands and I didn’t notice….and wiped my sweaty face continually throughout the day.

Yeah. So that was fun. I was determined to be the professional, experienced teacher this year. I refuse to have another first day of school just like my initial one. So naturally I took precautions (and made sure that all of my white board markers were functioning properly).

On the first day of school, I decided that it’d be nice to get a mango from my favorite fruit man (he sells fruit from his motorbike at the local 7/11). I got all dressed for school with my new uniform (a hot pink shirt), hair nicely pulled back, makeup done right, everything. I set out on my motorbike to the 7/11 and got my precious mango. I was so excited!

But as soon as I left 7/11, WHABAM!

Out of nowhere, a torrential downpour began. I was somehow instantly stuck in the middle of an aggressive rainstorm…and of course I forgot my helmet. So I had to squint to see anything amidst the huge droplets of water attacking my face.

If you were a local Thai or Burmese and you were in the area, you would’ve seen a soaking wet pink thing that glowed with whiteness (that would be my skin) coming towards you on a bright blue motorbike. Mango in the front basket and hands trying to cover my face and maintain control of the motorbike at the same time, I guess you could say I was a sight for sore eyes….or maybe I was the sight that made the eyes sore.

Since my house is on the way to school, I decided to stop by at my place. I was soaking wet. So wet that I slipped as soon as I stepped onto my tiled floor. Luckily I live alone and nobody saw that…except I’m writing about it in my blog now, so everyone will know…

I changed my uniform, so when I got to the school, I looked like the stupid farang (foreigner) who forgot the dress code again. I had teacher after teacher laugh at my soaking wet hair and tell me that I should’ve just put some shampoo in it while driving.

Come to think of it, that’s really an excellent idea considering I am still having a water shortage at my apartment. I’ll try that next time.

But yeah, I was soaking wet all day, even when I changed my clothes. My hair never seemed to dry, so I left puddles of water everywhere I went. I have a new student in my 8th grade class and the first thing he says to me is, “Wow! You are so wet!” We played a game where I gave my students a bunch of cards with words and they had to make sentences. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that the new student creates the sentence, “She is wet” and smiles at me.

Every day since then, that student greets me by saying, “Hello, Teacher. Today you are dry. You are not wet!” I’m glad he’s looking out for me. I expect he’ll buy me an umbrella for my birthday.

So happy and innocent on the motorbike...little did I know that 5 minutes after this photo is taken, I'll realize that it's a bad idea to wear a white shirt in rainy season Thailand...just one out of many monsoon experiences.

So happy and innocent on the motorbike…little did I know that 5 minutes after this photo is taken, I’ll realize that it’s a bad idea to wear a white shirt in rainy season Thailand…just one out of many monsoon experiences.

So at least I’m not known as the blue smurf around here anymore…just the wet girl who doesn’t know how to wear a raincoat or any waterproof clothes.

You’d think I’d learn by now that chasing storms isn’t necessarily the wisest thing to do. But I haven’t yet. Last night, I thought it was a great idea to go out for a run on the beach as the sun set and a huge storm rolled in. I figured, “Hey. I like running in the rain. It’s fun!” Yeah, NO. Not monsoon rain. And not rain with thunder and lightning. As I was running, I realized one thing: it’s raining. I’m wet. I’m in an open area on the beach. I just saw a HUGE bolt of lightning in front of me and I can feel my hair getting static. Not good.

Luckily that motivated me to run even faster back to my motorbike. It really would be embarrassing if I had been struck by lightning. The Colorado girl gets killed by lightning…in Thailand. Makes no sense.

Next time I’ll try to be more storm-smart.

Who am I kidding? I’ll probably end up chasing more storms. They just kind of pop out of nowhere. Chasing storms is always a bit of an adventure. This time I’m talking literally and figuratively. You never know what’s going to happen. You could get a slight drizzle or a heavy monsoon…never know what life’s going to throw at you. Just realize that sometimes you can be fully prepared and other times, you’re just going to have to embrace the rain and squint your eyes just so you can see the road ahead of you. Eventually the storm will end…and eventually another storm will come. But that’s life. You can’t make the rainy season end. You can only learn to improvise, adapt, and overcome.

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