“I want to see the sun when we visit you,” my mom said to me last week as we planned my family’s trip to Canterbury. So many of the comments I heard when telling people that I would be spending the semester in England was about the weather. “You know it rains every day there, right?” or “Well say goodbye to the sun when you go!” Well, I think that some people would be pleasantly surprised if they were to find themselves in Canterbury any time soon.
I can assure you, I have seen the sun on more days than I haven’t over the past 2 months here. And, even when it does rain, it is usually not even enough to justify bringing an umbrella with me when I leave my flat. (I learned this the hard way after receiving some funny looks for using an umbrella during a slight shower that lasted no more than ten minutes.) But I did not go abroad thinking that the weather would be making up the highlights of my 5 months here! And even though there has been a fair share of cloudy days here, there is something about the gray skies that adds to the old English charm that Canterbury possesses.
But even despite the sometime-cloudy skies that I have found here, I have managed to find some rays of sunshine each day, even in the smallest things. The rainbows that start to appear in the puddles when the sun starts to peak out from behind the clouds after the small showers. The rabbits that I see all over campus when I am walking to class or to city centre each day (they seem to replace the squirrels here). Or my flatmates asking me about myself and what my home is like when I see them when making dinner in the kitchen. And, when it does rain hard enough to warrant an umbrella, my neighbor running over to share hers with me because I did not think I would need one when I left my room that day.
These little things have become the things I appreciate most here, even though I never thought I would notice them when I first started my semester. Even though these things seem pretty small, I have come to find that, when you are alone in a new place and find that there are definitely times when you really do not know what to do, it is these little things, that make me so much more comfortable. Being a short-term student at a university where I know absolutely no one is something that I knew would never fall within my comfort zone, but it is the friendly faces and the familiar sights that remind me why I chose to come here. All these new experiences teach me something new, and show that there is so much more to the world than I can even believe. And I know that when I return home in a few months that these small memories that stick out in my mind will be the stories that I tell the most often, because they have been what is making me feel right at home.