Celebrate Travel: Meet New Friends in the Rain
Every day people around the world are celebrating something. It could be a birthday, an anniversary, a major holiday, or festival. There are also the little things you never heard of that some deem necessary to celebrate. For instance, did you know that March is National Umbrella Month?
I’ve teamed up with The Mother of All Trips and Wandermom to shine a tiny spotlight on these unsung heroes of the festival world in a new series called Celebrate Travel. Each month one of us will host the celebration so you can get to know a few of the world’s more obscure holidays. We’ve asked a few friends to join in with their own tales that make each month special, and of course we are going to kick off this new series with an ode to all things weather in honor of the mighty umbrella.
Sit back and enjoy the ride as I reflect on one of my favorite rain induced moments on the road. Then pop to the bottom and let me know about your own weather adventures in the comments. You have to have one. Weather effects all of us you know.
Rain is not my favorite kind of weather. I’m more of a sunny day with a light breeze kind of girl. I live in a constant cloud most of the year here in Seattle, and have had soggy feet more often than I care to remember. Umbrellas are a regular part of my wardrobe, even if I don’t bother to open them half of the time. In my opinion even snow is better than rain, but then again we hardly ever get snow here. As much as I hate the rain one of my fondest travel memories occurred during a rain shower in Kyoto, Japan.
Not so long ago, when we were only a family of 3, Mike and I took Dek to Kyoto to see the sights. I was on my way home from a business trip to China with Dek (yes, I brought a 20 month old to China by myself), and we decided we might as well do a stop over in Japan and have Mike meet up with us. Japan had been on our travel wish list for years; this just seemed like the perfect time to go.
While wandering the streets one afternoon in Gion we ended up at the Higashi Otani Mausoleum. It had been raining off and on most of the day, but we had avoided it so far. As we rounded a corner and found a large, terraced cemetery the heavens opened wide and started to pour buckets on us. We rain to an archway to gain a little shelter. Naturally Dek was more interested in the forming puddles than staying dry.
After a few minutes a friendly Danish traveler appeared down the lane and bee lined it for our shelter. He had no umbrella; we made room for another body in our little archway. The usual small talk started up; where had we been, what were we doing in Japan, how long would we be staying, etc. Dek ignored the adults and decided that he was going to climb the steps in the cemetery we had been keeping him from no matter how wet he would get. Our Danish friend decided to help.
Hand in hand my little man and his new friend climbed those cemetery steps and conquered them. It was a wonderful moment in travel. Here was a man we had never met, but felt compelled to help our son meet a challenge head on, even though it meant he would get wet. We as the parents had held back our son for our own comfort, but a total stranger was willing to step in and play “uncle.”
Soon the rain stopped and Dek’s adopted uncle said his farewells and continued on his own adventure. We never did see him again, but I hope he knows he made a difference to one very happy little boy and his parents during a rainy day in Japan. We continued our own adventures across the city, never seeing rain again, but thankful for the encounter the weather had brought into our trip.