Oxford Diaries 2: English Rain

Some things about England:

  • It’s cold. Buy-a-scarf-and-hat-and-sweater-and-sweatpants cold.
  • It’s rainy.

When I was a moody pre-teen, I insisted rain was my favorite kind of weather. Cozy for staying indoors with a sweater and tea, that sort of thing. Adults insisted I’d grow out of it, and I did. To be honest, the rain back home is not cozy. It’s cold and wet and it makes you wonder why on earth you chose to study in Massachusetts, where four months out of the year, the weather makes your face hurt.

My dad always told me that English rain was different. He and my mother lived in England for five years, and were often as happy as they’d ever been. North American rain was icky, he said, and made you feel gross to be outside. Rain in England was… warmer? Cozier? I’m not sure, but different, somehow.

Well, after five short days in England, I can say that it is different. It’s shorter – it can rain two times in one day, with bursts of sunshine in the middle. And the scenery better lends itself to rain. Green parks and trees next to old brown buildings (plus the assumption that it’s going to rain a lot already) make the world feel a bit like a painting.


A rainy day on High Street, one of the main streets that runs through Oxford. Courtesy of Oxford Daily Photo.

url-1The Radcliffe Camera on a cloudy afternoon. Courtesy of Legget.

I still waver on how I feel about this place. Yesterday afternoon, in between a get-to-know-you event at the famous pub the Turf, and dinner on my college campus, I wandered around through the overcast streets and felt lonely and a little lost. I ended up going up to the second floor of a bookstore and reading for a while before heading off to dinner, held in my college’s beautiful chapel hall. Surrounded by fellow students both English and international, I felt excited again for a year full of new friendships and opportunities.

This rainy morning holds a lot of that same potential. I have inductions and introductions, mandatory meetings with my program director, and college registration off in some yet-undiscovered part of the city. But I also have a dinner, a pub quiz, and a late-night ice cream that I may attend. The hours in between are reserved for reading, drinking coffee, and whatever else the city holds for me today. So I try to greet the day, and the rain, with my chin up and a smile on my face.

Let’s see what I can make of it.

Sara Laughed

Hey hey! I'm Sara, an American writer living in the Netherlands and working as a product manager.

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