This week’s theme: There must be something in the water.
The rain, it raineth every day
The dreary, gray winter has officially set in. There are precious few moments when the sun peeks through; the skies have been consistently cloudy with a light drizzle sprinkling down. But downpours are few and far between, and the rain is so light and intermittent that you would hardly get drenched if caught without an umbrella. Perhaps for that reason, people here often forgo umbrellas. Especially in Berlin, where it rained for three days straight, we barely saw anyone using one. People simply put their hoods up and keep on walking, and if the rain gets heavier they wait under awnings until it stops.
I’ve started getting lazy about carrying an umbrella around too. But I haven’t been able to shake this paranoia since I first heard of it in Korea, even though I’m pretty sure it’s an old wives’ tale… Korean weather is more monsoon-like, so rain comes in sudden and sometimes extended downpours. And they say you should never get caught in a rainstorm empty-handed because the rain is acidic and will cause hair loss if you get rained on. Haha. I know, I know. It sounds ridiculous, and clearly, Europeans don’t believe in it. But still… it never hurts to take precautions!
The plumbing… it changeth every day
The fact that hot and cold water come out of different spouts here is so 1800s. But hey, I can deal with it.
However, the plumbing has gotten trippy in the past week: on Sunday, the cold water came out lukewarm. Monday, there was no hot water. Tuesday, the spouts reversed: cold was hot, hot was cold. And since Wednesday, both spouts have been scalding hot. I’ve been writing a report on hot water heating systems in NYC, so I’m trying to imagine the mechanism that would cause this, and I haven’t got a clue. Then again, the plumbing system here is so archaic to begin with, it probably doesn’t bear much resemblance to the technology I’ve been researching. But it does make you wonder if they’re ever going to fix this, or if Britain’s plumbing fixtures will forever be stuck this way.
… So what, exactly, is in the water?
Shortly before I moved to London, a friend told me that when she would go to her tutor’s (professor’s) office, he would give her tea. But there was a strange filmy layer on top, and she thought it was gross that he didn’t wash his china cleanly enough. But I tell you, when I wash my plates and mugs I give ’em a good scrub, yet there’s a weird film on top of my tea too. I’ve been told that it’s because there’s limescale in the water, though I don’t know what that means. They say it’s safe to drink the tap water here, but it tastes funny and leaves you thirsty, even after you filter and boil it and turn it into tea!
There’s a plus for NYC: it really does have good tap water!
Learning the English accent: “Water”
I still cannot pronounce “water” the English way. Listen and repeat the first three seconds until you get it—and then watch the rest of the video too, it’s fascinating stuff!