Rain in Chiang Mai, and how my students react to it

22:02 Amy 0 Comments

Thailand's rainy season is from July to October, meaning that rain has been occasionally dampening our life in Chiang Mai.  Rainy season rain explodes from the clouds like nothing I've ever seen in England.  Floods can happen in the blink of an eye, but are often gone just as fast.

Rain doesn't usually stop us, and it shouldn't stop you either.

It's still a good time to visit Chiang Mai because stuff is cheaper, it's cooler and attractions are emptier because there are less tourists.  The rain hardly ever stops us from doing stuff, as you can see by that bleak photo taken on top of Doi Inthanon.  It was so cold.  But I'm still glad we did it, it was one of our best trips out.  The rain and fog softened everything, making stuff we looked at feel timeless, hidden and magical.  That photo (below) of the shrine at the top of Doi Inthanon would have been totally different if it was brilliant sunny!  So, no need to have your plans ruined, don a poncho and you're good to go.

Having said that, if you do choose to go out in the rain, be careful... especially on a motorbike.  Roads do flood, and when a CarryBoy (supermassive huge car that's really popular in Chiang Mai) flies by, you get drenched and can't see.  Not good.  There's also the possibility of aqua planing on all that water, or even getting your bike stuck in deep water.  If there was ever a time to definitely wear your helmet, this is it.  If you're on a busy road in heavy rain, my advice would be to stop (preferably at the top of a slope) and wait it out.

I have created a list of the top 8 best things to do on a rainy day...

... whilst getting minimally drenched.  It can feel like rain ruins your holiday or free time, but it doesn't have to.  Check it out here.

Thai teenagers and their reaction to rain is one of those baffling things about my life in Chiang Mai.

My teenage students were all born and raised in Thailand, which means they've had many years to experience heavy rain.  So, their reaction always takes me by surprise.

They see the rain, and they scream.

It doesn't matter that they're in a class, learning how to talk about inventions in English.  As soon as the rain explodes, Teacher is drowned out by the squealy screams of over-excited little people.  The girls start, and the boys find this funny and so join in to create a crescendo of about UNIT OF SOUND.  They shout at me: "Teacher, TEACHER!  It's raining!  It's raining!"  Yep, so it is.  Don't be fooled the brightness of that photo to the left - it really was raining heavily today, and they were thrilled.

What causes their excitement?

If we were all out in the wilderness being pelted by the raindrops then yeah, that would be super exciting!  But we're together in a classroom.  Inside.  Learning.  Perhaps it's that the door might slam in the wind at any moment, making us jump.  The teacher has to speak louder to compete with the roar of rain.  The student sat closest to the door might feel a few raindrops.  Maybe it's anticipation - they're screaming now as a kind of prequel to when they step outside.

I'm a pretty relaxed teacher about most classroom issues, and this is no exception.  I let them scream for a short time, no harm done.  Sometimes I teach them 'it's raining cats and dogs'.  Then we move on.  It's become a kind of normality in my classroom.  Perhaps they do it now just because they can!

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