The gentle yet crisp rustle of fabric resonates in my ears as my plaid shirt-tails dance behind me, the breeze whipping, sending my deep chestnut locks into a chaotic frenzy- my daily bicycle ride. The papery silver sky provides a welcome relief from the merciless sun and illuminates the verdant beauty of the local village as the steady crunch of grit echoes from below my tires. I crank the handlebars to the left, propelling further into town as the first glistening droplet softly streams down my cheek, a single tear from the granite sky. I continue to pump my legs, launching the bicycle forward as additional beads of rain float down, escaping their celestial vault. Within seconds I am met with a torrent of plump, pearly raindrops. Soaked, I steer the bicycle in the direction of the school. Veering through the streets accompanied by a wall of rain, I am met with entertained reactions from the villagers, smiles, lowered glances and shaking heads, amused proclamations of ‘farang’ (foreigner). I pour into my room at the school, sodden with rainwater, leaving a small network of sinuous streams on the floor.
Lesson learned: next time I go biking in monsoon season, I am bringing a small collection of oars, a poncho, a rowboat, and a life-preserver, because I may just have to paddle my way back to school. But hey, at least the villagers find me entertaining- who else can boast being the only crazy-female-farang monsoon-bike-rider in the village?