April 23 • 09:04 AM

Rainy season brings thoughts of home

December 05, 2018
The monsoon came suddenly to central Vietnam and clamped itself down tightly.

There were stray days beforehand when the rain erupted in erratic intervals, heralding its true coming, but then one day the rain came and didn't stop for some time. The seasonably cool air descended. The clouds marched in overhead to stay.

Thus began the days of overcast and downpours. The wet season.

Michigan knows the cold rains of October and November, but Vietnam knows rain. Cascades upon cascades of the stuff at a time, coming down hard before, impossibly, it begins coming down even harder.

Do you remember in Forrest Gump when Forrest recalls that, during the rainy season in Vietnam, the rain came down so hard that it sometimes "seemed to come straight up from underneath?" It's true! Especially in the streets, when the water has already formed a layer for the rain to produce its protean cratered pattern. These are the days of listening to the sound of tires cutting through the wash outside my window.

Going out into any of the typical deluges now, the routine is to suit up in my rain pants and rain jacket, the latter of which I've found to be of not much use since the rain passes through the zipper and soaks the middle of my sweater. The heavier rain especially adds an interesting element to the already chaotic driving situation in Vietnam, where one feels the wetness splashing across their face and soaking their dust mask as they squint while driving their motorbike amongst many others caught in the same boat. Not for the faint of heart.

These are also the days of mosquitoes, and of dengue, with which I lay sickened in my bed when the monsoon came (and why you haven't heard from me in a few weeks). I have heard of an epidemic going around during this time.

Of course, it doesn't always rain, but there always seems to be clouds somewhere. On occasion, the sunlight is able to cut through the clouds to produce an almost heavenly, angelic effect before the moment passes. During these instances, if the pavement is wet, the streets automatically become hazy in a tropical steam.

These are also days when I think of home most often, ironically. I find the (relatively) cool rain more akin to the weather happening now back in Michigan than during the sweltering summers. Autumn has always been my kind of season, anyway: calm, meditative. Plus, 'tis the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which my family shall celebrate without me this year.

There is one peculiar thing that this season has awakened in me, though: A quest for good chocolate.

My family have long been the quintessential chocoholics, with a stash particularly of the darker variety always tucked away somewhere in the pantry. Lacking a refrigerator, it's rather impractical for me to try to replicate this tradition in my apartment during the warmer months, but with the cooler weather comes beautiful new possibilities.

I gotta get my hands on some. It's been too long.

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