Summer is here again, which means – amongst other things – that we can’t wear our hair down any more, lest it become plastered across our faces and necks. I sat in the bar where we were celebrating Irish Friend One’s birthday the other night, fanning myself and looking wistfully out through the open doors and windows at the storm which had suddenly burst upon the heavy, humid night in a torrent of rain that bounced off the ground and pounded deafeningly on the rooftops.
I just want to go out there and dance, I informed the party. You don’t understand! It hasn’t rained in Daejeon since about September. Not only is this unnatural to me, being from Ireland and all, but it can also be quite a struggle, breathing in that dry, dusty air every day without a drop of moisture in it to give your sinuses a break. Dancing in the rain to celebrate the start of the (mental) rainy season seems like a perfectly natural urge to me. And besides, rain is also a relief from the sudden humidity, let me tell you.
So do it! Go on! I want a picture of the rain-starved Irish girl dancing in the monsoon! said one of my South African friends. And honestly, I didn’t take much persuading. I tentatively stepped outside, felt the cool rain pelting down on my sticky skin, and then realised that I loved the rain too much to care what anyone thought. Arms raised in the air, I danced, and was soaked to the skin in 10 seconds flat.
And then, suddenly, there was South African Friend Three beside me. People were gathering in the doorway to take pictures of this bemusing sight. And that’s when it happened. Every single one of my friends came outside and danced with me, hair and make-up (and general dislike of any weather that isn’t sunshine) be damned. It might sound ridiculous, but it was one of the most fun, freeing, beautiful moments of my life. OK, yes, I was being a bit of a hippie (Think of all the countries that have no water, guys! And look at this! LOOK at this! Look what we have!! Isn’t it amazing?!), but I really do believe there is nothing absurd about dancing in the rain. A little water isn’t going to do me any harm, and in the Korean summer it comes as a blissfully cool interlude between humidity and humidity. Dancing in the rain makes an awful lot more sense to me than dancing on a packed dance floor in a hot, sweaty bar.
And for once, everyone seemed to agree. Total strangers left the bar to come dance with us in the storm. Random passers-by stopped, stared, and then tossed aside their umbrellas and came over and danced. It was fun in its purest, most innocent and harmless form, and as I danced with the crowd to the music of our choice provided by the barman, I fell in love with my life here all over again. We were soaked through – our clothes clung to our skin, and rain poured down our faces in steady rivulets. And you could actually see the moment of realisation when it hit each drenched person: hey, so what if I look like a drowned rat? Does it matter?
We had the time of our lives, and danced in the relentless downpour until the sun came up, at which point the lovely barman came outside with a bottle of tequila and dozens of plastic cups, and poured drinks for everyone. You haven’t drunk tequila till you’ve tried to drink it really fast in a crazy rainstorm so that it doesn’t get too diluted.
Welcome, rain. I’ve missed you!