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Studying abroad: not always sunshine and rainbows

Climate change is real. Yes, we are about to talk to you about the weather. No, we have not run out of topics, and we aren’t just talking about the weather to hit on you or get out of an awkward conversation. Seriously, if you are used to living in Orlando, Florida, and you move to Northern England, the weather is worth addressing. We knew that it would be cold and rainy. What we didn’t quite realize is how consistently cold and rainy it actually is. Also, we were woefully under-packed, with Micah forgetting a raincoat, and Sianna not packing a pair of rain boots (don’t judge).

Despite the weather, it is ridiculously difficult to find a good pair of Wellies or a decent rain jacket. It’s as though people here are born with the same weatherproof gear that they’ll use throughout their lifetime, so there’s no need for stores to sell it. And even after we did find some waterproof shoes and a good rain jacket, it took us a few days to remember to start wearing them regularly. We may or may not have accidentally stepped in a few surprisingly deep puddles in sneakers or gotten caught in the rain once or twice (okay, three times) during our first couple of weeks.

The funniest thing about the weather is that everyone optimistically seems to think that it will be sunny on a regular basis. The restaurants here have more outdoor seating than they do in Orlando, and parks and playgrounds are everywhere. The number of people we have actually seen using these amenities since we got here is negligible, though on the occasional sunny days there is nothing better than soaking up some rays with your jacket on in the 55 degree heat. It will definitely be a shock to move back to Orlando next semester and go back to the uniform of short sleeves, shorts, and flip flops.

Even on those rare sunny days, locals find it their duty to apologize to us about the climate. Often, almost immediately after realizing we’re Americans who call Orlando home, they comment on the week and a half streak of gray skies and light showers in the kindest, sweetest, most apologetic manner– like the weather was something out of the usual. Sometimes they even add that a sunny day might be in the next ten day forecast, with the slightest hint of hope in their voice.

The weather may not always be perfectly sunny, but we don’t mind the constant drizzles and the chill in the air. Well, at least not now that we’ve found raincoats and Wellies. Now it’s kind of nice.

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