I’m thankful for:
- Sharing the joy and wonder of rain with a toddler.
- Praise and prayer thoughtfully shared.
- Humor through incorrectly “autocorrected” typed words.
I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful for:
Friday morning brought an unexpected email. It was from a cousin of Andrew’s whom I had only met once and we hadn’t seen in years. This cousin was hopping around SE Asia and was stopping in Singapore… the next day! We were thrilled to hear a relative was going to be in our neck of the woods and set about trying to find a time to meet up.
Due to the hectic schedule of an already planned out weekend, we settled on the window of Sunday lunch time down town at the merlion. We figured we’d skip some places, such as the Botanic Gardens, that were sure to be brown from our record drought. Instead we banked on walking around and enjoying the downtown city landscape that was less marred by the dry whether. As we waited for a taxi, the unplanned, but desperately awaited even occurred: it rained.
Of course this meant getting a taxi was now not an option (because every other person going somewhere decided to get a taxi too). Consequently, we ended up taking the train down town (which took longer) and we had to walk quite a few blocks to get to our meet up point… in the rain. Although we had become accustomed to the new “dry-Singapore,” old habits which died hard dictated that we had brought at least one umbrella with us. In addition, Gideon had shelter in the “umbrella” of the stroller. But make no mistake – we were all wet. Andrew cheerfully remarked, “At least we wore our contacts and not glasses today!” True.
Wet and late, we met up with Andrew’s cousin and his friend. We apologized for the sudden break in our dry weather right at a relatively inopportune moment. Andrew’s cousin must’ve been related to him and piped with the same spirit of cheerful optimism of, “Well at least we’re witnessing history in the making,” referring to the record drought since the 1800’s being broken. We scrapped our plans for the stroll outdoors and made our way to a mall where we could roam without the rain soaking us.
Despite the crowded mall, and the disappointment of failed plans, we were glad to have the opportunity to share a meal and conversation with the cousin. After receiving a bread stick at lunch from his daddy’s cousin, he decided the stranger was worth a smile. For ourselves, we noted that this cousin won the award for being the first on Andrew’s side to make it “visit us” in Singapore – that was worth a smile too! (Okay… maybe that wasn’t his sole reason for coming to Singapore, but it wasn’t a huge skew either, was it?)
Thankfully the rain finally let up enough for the wet-then-dried group to travel back outdoors. The originally planned outdoor route didn’t happen, but wandering was still worthwhile.
Fast forward a few hours after our family of three got home from church and dinner: We walk up to our block checking below our kitchen window to make sure no clothes had fallen from the poles where we left them to dry. Several hours past when we left our house we had thought surely there was no chance of today being the day that would break the drought. Then we looked up. Oops. The pole had become accustomed to nice and easy, lightweight, quickly drying clothes. It had forgotten what it felt like to have wet clothes further soaked by hours of rain. Not used to the extra weight, it collapsed.
Needless to say we ended up adding an extra spin cycle to our evening. Oh, but it was worth it to smell the freshly wet earth and feel the air cooled by the rain.
Thanks Simon for the visit as well as for the rain! 🙂 Come again, anytime.
They say that November (or December depending on who you ask) is statistically the rainiest month in Singapore. I haven’t been through a November in Singapore… yet. But, I think I can say that rainy season has begun.
While it had not been uncommon to have rainy days, it also wasn’t uncommon to have rainless days. Now, we are surprised if it doesn’t rain during the day. Each day that passes is more of a question of when it will rain rather than if. We can [near] practically count on it raining somewhere in the afternoon. The showers are more scattered (meaning it might be pouring at my work and dry at Andrew’s work about 3 km away!) But the rain seems to be more reliable (it seems like we can count on it raining somewhere between 12 and 5pm where as it used to rain any time during the day or night).
I would say that Singapore is more well equipped than other places I have lived (okay the list isn’t long…) to handle the frequent, near constant, showers. There is relatively good drainage such that sidewalks and roads don’t get that flooded. More people regularly travel with an umbrella (it helps that it is ambidextrously used as artificial shade in the sunny weather). Stores/malls almost always have special bags for umbrellas out when it’s raining. Designers/builders are conscious enough of the rainy weather to do things like put ridges into sloped walkways and paint exposed walkways with slip-resistant paint – all in an effort to decrease accidents. There are much more covered walkways such that I can walk the 3 minutes from my home to the bus-stop without getting wet.
Yet some places are not that well prepared and some places regardless of the preparations are still impacted by the rain. Yesterday held some examples of how the rain inconveniences us.
First – knowing how likely it was to rain (or rather “guessing” at the likelihood)… Andrew decided not to ride his bike to work. He is less often able to ride his bike due to the unpredictable weather. Even though it may not be raining when he heads to work in the morning, often rain is forecasted for the evening. And some times when it is forecasted, it never happens – making the decision not to ride the bike all the more frustrating and difficult.
Second – Although I bring my small umbrella with me regularly. There are times where the downpour is so great that it just simply isn’t worth walking in the rain unless there are covered walkways. The walk between the bus-stop and my work is one example of an un-covered walkway. Yesterday as I was hoping to leave work it started to rain hard. One of those heavy rains that you knew you couldn’t escape getting wet even armed with an umbrella. The heavy rain turned into a turrential downpour. It even got to the point on the radar that I had been stalking online that it showed purple near my location. Purple was one shade darker than red. And red was higher than the orange. Orange represented “heavy” on the color legend associated with the radar. I don’t think we had seen purple before when watching the radar. You couldn’t get further on the colored scale. Point – it was pouring. Second point – I wasn’t particularly interested in getting soaked.
I waited for over an hour for the rain to let up. Finally, the radar indicated light green/yellow. Interpretation – it was between moderate and light, and I could probably make it to the bus-stop without getting soaked. I left and was able to make it home without getting more than my feet and the bottom of my capris wet. Exit buddy was soaked though.
Third – While most areas do a good job of directing the rain, some roofs leave something to be desired. You must be careful when approaching a roof as typically the edge gives off more rain than the outside rain itself.
Good news 1: Cooler.
It is much cooler than the “non-rainy season.” Without the sun out as much, it is substantially cooler. By “cooler” I mean to say that we more often feel temps in the lower 80s and less often in the high 80s and low 90s. It may not seem like a lot, but having slightly cooler temperatures with less sustained sunniness makes for a much more peasant experience than constantly hot, humid, sunny weather in the 90s!
Good news 2: Rainy weather means soup weather.
With the year-round heat of Singapore, I was doubting whether I would ever be in the mood in Singapore to have/make soup. Yesterday, I finally was able to say I was in the mood for soup. I splurged the $1.50 on a can of condensed tomato soup. (I splurged more on the block of cheddar cheese I bought for the grilled cheese…)
Oh, how glorious it was to be eating the warm (okay it was hot, and I slightly burnt my tongue), creamy, tomato soup accompanied with a grilled sandwhich oozing with cheesy goodness. I am so glad I have a wealth of memories of growing up with this exactly meal on rainy days. Thank you Mom for the memories!
So you see, it’s not all bad when it rains.
Oh, before I forget. Have you heard of animals having a 6th sense about weather and natural phenomena? Well, I wonder if animals around here are better at predicting weather than the local meteorologists.
You see before I had even gotten to the bus-stop right near our apartment I had spotted a large cockroach on a mission to get somewhere quickly, a lizard probably a foot long, and a larger-than-normal flock of pidgeons. Not that any one of these animals was unheard of – but to see them all within a minute of each other, now that was what was unusual. And what I didn’t see was the stray cats that are normally around. Perhaps they had already found cover for the rain that was coming later that day.
And later in the afternoon I saw another unusual sight. I saw a cat walk into an alcove where an elevator was. When I closed the gap between the cat and myself I could find no trace of the cat, but I did find an elevator that was traveling up to a higher floor. Perhaps the cat was searching for higher/dryer ground? Anyways, it was still weird. And perhaps it was an indicator of the less than dry weather.
Andrew and I make a habit of asking each other at the end of a day of work what the highlight of the day was. It is a wonderful practice of thinking what we were thankful for during the day even if the day wasn’t all that great. The other day was a generic, fine day, but I had a particular small blessing come to mind when I was asked that evening to come up with a highlight. The small blessing was my umbrella.
In the States I would use the umbrella occasionally… like when it rained. But it didn’t see tons of use. But this umbrella has become so much more than a simple tool. He has moved to Singapore with me. Between the rainy days and the transportable shade usage, the umbrella has become very worn in the 7 months in Singapore. He went from a nice, hardly used, looking umbrella to a tattered, well-loved, looking umbrella. He is no longer just an umbrella, he is my “exit buddy.”
You see, one of my all-time-favorite movies is Finding Nemo. And one of my favorite lines (I have lots of favorites) from the movie is, “Do you have your exit buddy?”
When I leave the apartment I try to make a habit of double checking that my exit buddy is with me. Yesterday I almost made it to the elevator before realizing Mr. Umbrella was still in the apartment. Oh no! I rushed back, unlocked the door, and there he was – waiting to be picked up. I snatched him and locked back up the apartment – this time I was ready to head out.
It was fairly sunny as I walked the short distance to the bus stop. As I got on the bus stop I made sure to take my exit buddy with me. We passed 3 bus stops before anything of importance happened. Then it started raining, all right before I stepped off the bus. No worries – Mr. Umbrella came to the rescue. I got off the bus and opened up my trusty friend.
It wasn’t pouring, but was raining enough that I was happy to have him with me.
Of course about 20 feet from the entrance to the school it stopped raining. But I didn’t mind. It afforded me the opportunity to use my umbrella and make that extra locking/unlocking of my front door earlier – so worth it. That little reminder God gave me to go back to get the umbrella – and how I needed it – was just the perfect highlight of the day 🙂
This past month we have seen a fair bit of rain. I suppose it is a sign that we are approaching the rainy season here in Singapore. Officially, November is the rainiest month. Time will tell. But regardless of how much rainier it gets, Mr. Umbrella will be there for us.