If there was no super-urgent need to do so, I never used to go outside when it was raining, not even to go somewhere by car. But my behaviour has changed since I came to the Netherlands two years ago.
Once, when I was still new here, I was really in a hurry to get to class. I had not paid much attention to the weather forecast, not being in the habit of doing so back home. Outside, I found it had just started raining so I went back for my umbrella. I wasn’t happy as I hate the long wait for the elevator to reach the 19th floor. Once I had my umbrella I grabbed my bike, but I soon discovered it is hard to ride a bike and hold an umbrella at the same time. To make it more dangerous, there was a strong wind which almost blew me off my bike.
Learning from this experience, I decided to wear my raincoat next time. I felt a bit silly in it because it is a colourful poncho with polka dots. It is also hard to take off and when I got to the university I felt embarrassed being watched as I struggled.
At the same time I noticed that many Dutch people were simply ignoring the rain, casually cycling through it. Compared to my complicated way of dealing with rain, this looked really easy. And I even live close to campus. It made me wonder: why am I so afraid to get wet?
Fitria Rizkyka, an MSc student of Food Technology, from Indonesia
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