Rain, Rain (Don’t) Go Away

On Tuesday, November 19, I was sent home from school. Not because I had been a bad teacher, and not because I had been sent to the principal’s office for some other reason. I was sent home because it rained.
After the first hour of morning rain, everyone was sent home.
Being from the San Francisco Bay Area of late, where it typically rains from November to May, and from another region where it has historically poured cats and dogs in the summertime, rain isn’t always appreciated. If there is too little, we worried about drought. If there was too much, we worried about flooding and houses sliding off the hills, or into the ocean. Rain, if not always welcome, was and is a necessary (sometimes) evil. We cursed its presence, but feared its absence even more. We drove in it, begrudgingly walked in it, and lit fireplaces when the rain was combined with a little colder weather.
In Riyadh, it rains only a few days a year, so the rain is cause for celebration. When it rains, the people of Riyadh go out and play. Rain is the time to go camping, build a fire and drink hot Arabic coffee. It is time for a picnic on the roof under a thin canopy. It is time to rejoice in the good weather and time to drive in the many flooded streets. And the streets always flood because the city has no gutters or drain system.
It is time to go home from school.

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A car enjoying the rain.


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