What a Difference the Sun Makes

Photo credit: nuchylee at freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit: nuchylee at freedigitalphotos.net

I am not one to make a big deal about the weather. It comes and goes, and except for when it’s really cold (or really hot), I don’t say much about it. Well until this year. This is my fifth winter in Taiwan, and while I have nothing on my friends and family back in the States in terms of weather to complain about, I have not been happy about the rain rain rain rain rain rain.

Central heat is not common in most apartments (or at the university where I teach), so when our cold spell stretched on and on this year, coupled with the rain rain rain rain rain, I thought I might go a little mad. Still the calendar said it would eventually pass, and it wouldn’t be long before I could trade my complaining for the hot, HUMID days that lie ahead. But in the meantime, I was getting a little tired of wearing fingerless gloves while I typed, and wearing three layers of clothing while huddled near the heater. But that wasn’t the only problem. The long, wet spell created another problem–laundry.

In our apartment, we have a washing machine, but no clothes dryer. No problem! We hang our clothes out on the balcony, as is the norm around here (at least for those without a clothes dryer). To give you an idea, we just had such a long spell where Dave was unable to hang out laundry that he almost broke down and carried it the two blocks for a coin operated dryer.

But what’s really been bothering me the last few weeks is that whenever I take the bus to go downtown for my exercise routine at Curves, I’ve had to deal with the wet weather. The cold I can “usually” handle, but I was getting so sick of the rain. You’ll understand more when I start posting what sidewalks in Taiwan are like. Today, after a day of classes and office hours, I headed to Curves. I planned to catch the shuttle and walk the five blocks from the train station downtown to Curves. I’ve done it several times. In the rain.

But today, I ended up on the wrong bus. (An occupational hazard of not reading Chinese.) To be fair to me though, the bus I got on was in the same place where I’ve caught the right bus several other times. But no matter. The one I ended up on was going to the train station in Taipei not Taoyuan. Luckily, I found out before we left the university premises, and the driver let me off.

I caught a local bus and settled in. Then I noticed that although it was 5:00 in the afternoon, the sun was still shining. Wait! The sun was shining! Actually, I remembered noticing the sun at 8:00 this morning, when I walked into my classroom. I’d sort of forgotten what it was like to teach with the sun out. The sun changed everything today! It was brighter even sitting in my office this afternoon. So when the local bus dropped me off at the stop closer to Curves, I walked there without having to worry about slipping on wet surfaces, or dodging raindrops, or wrestling with an umbrella. And because it had been a week since I’d been downtown at that time, it wasn’t gloomy. It wasn’t even dusk. We’ve turned a corner. When I get downtown late Monday afternoon, it will be brighter. Even if it rains–heaven forbid–at least it won’t be dusk on top of it.

What a difference a week makes. Even with a few glitches in my day, the difference between tonight and last Monday is amazing. Even my workout was much more pleasant as a result. Bring on the sun!