I see the sun today after a string of 10 straight days of non-stop rain. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot to you. Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey, the girl lived in Seattle for over two years and she can’t handle a little rain?” If you are thinking that, thanks for being so insensitive you big jerk. But you could potentially have a point. Except for the fact that the rain in Seattle drizzles slightly while the rain here has been coming down in sheets so thick you think you might have accidentally fallen in the ocean. And while in Seattle I dealt with the gray, soggy weather by baking cookies and watching chick flicks with Elise, unfortunately here that is not an option.
Up here in Quatamwele we have been enveloped in a cloud for over a week. It will lift long enough to pour down rain and then descend to hide any remnants of a sun and throw a thick fog over everything. The creeks are dangerously full, making it impossible even to go to my parents’ house, and everything turned into slick, slimy mud. No one can go to the garden, get to the mobile reception place, go down to get provisions from the store at the bottom of the hill, or really do anything at all. Thunder cracks all day, the rain pours down, wind threatens to take down trees, and to step outside means to be soaked to the skin instantly. Not that it’s much better inside. I can actually say, for the first time in my life, that it rained inside my house. The strong wind blew a bit of a cloud through the un-insulated bamboo walls, and it hovered right near my ceiling, emitting a small mist of rain droplets that fell on everything I own. As I looked at the beam from my solar light (necessary to read by even in the middle of the day), I could see the rain coming down. And of course, consequently everything is wet. When I go to bed my sheets are wet, when I wake up my clothes are wet, my matches, firewood, notebooks, towels – all wet. And this swampy atmosphere has confused a whole new set of critters into thinking that my home is in fact their home. I have come to terms with the lizards, spiders, and ants that are my usual constant companions. Since none of them are poisonous I generally have accepted a live-and-let-live policy with few negative experiences (with the exception of Harry, the spider that lives in my swim house. He’s a creep and I’m convinced he only chose that as his permanent home in order to watch me bathe every day). However, I am not a fan of this new contingency of boarders in my house. It’s gross to step on a mushy worm when you get out of bed, it’s annoying to be serenaded by a frog perched on your shoe, and it’s just plain distracting when a slug leaves a slimy trail across the paper you’re using to try to put together a financial statement.
Our radios couldn’t get reception in this weather, but the Peace Corps office had successfully sent a message to my satellite phone saying a small hurricane was hitting the southern part of Vanuatu and we were getting side effects from that. Then there was an earthquake with a resulting tsunami warning and our volcano was moved from an alert 0 to a 1 (out of 4). What is this place??
Although I am a little bit of a dramatic weather junkie and I love a good thunder storm, I have had quite enough. I’m ready to stop having pruny feet, finally be able to wash the mold out of my underwear, and write a letter without my pen ripping the damp paper. Today I see the sun and my spirits are lifted, but I’m told the rainy season can last until March or April. Ugh. On the other hand, the hurricane forced Harry to relocate and I can now bucket shower in peace. There’s always a positive. . .