In the country of my birth, South Africa, we take sunshine for granted.
Not so in the corner of northwest Europe I now call home. Here, in the Netherlands, summer usually lasts about a week before the ever-present rain returns; days are considered summery if the mercury exceeded 25°C and a Dutch heat wave is defined as five consecutive summery days where the temperature topped 30°C for three of those days.
In my hometown, 25 degrees was an average winter’s day!
I realized I had become acclimatized to life in Europe when I turned my face skyward, towards the sun to soak up the beneficial rays during a brief coffeebreak at the office.
In South Africa, we wear hats and sunscreen and use parasols more than umbrellas to protect us from the sun. Drought is an ever-present danger. Sprinklers on suburban lawns are rarely in use unless the owner has a private borehole. And washing dishes by hand is definitely not done under a running tap!
Toto blesses the rains in Africa and rightly so.
Those first fat drops that scatter the dry dust raise a distinctive earthy smell. I remember running outside many times to dance naked in the rain, revelling in the cool promise of life and growth. That is unthinkable in the Netherlands, where rain is the norm and sun is special.
So often in life, we look for the positive and do everything can to avoid the negative.
We forget that they are opposite sides of the same coin—one cannot exist without the other.
Life and love need both sun and rain to grow and flourish.
We are shaped more by hardship than by smooth sailing, so we should embrace our problems for their growth potential and trust that this too will pass.
After all, what goes up must come down—and mountains are no better than valleys.
If I can learn to greet both sun and rain with the same orgasmic joy, I would be truly blessed!
Dominique is a Jill-Of-All-Trades by nature, having done everything from managing a hotel to making documentaries, from IT project management to internet sales. A South African living in the Netherlands and married to an Israeli, she considers herself a world citizen, trying to balance the give and take of life. At present, her focus is on her two young daughters. Watching the awakening of these two precious little souls is inspiring her to do more, give more, live more. She recently discovered the joys of writing and invites you to share the lessons she is learning on her own path of discovery.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise