Art by Sarah Rietz
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
Summer in London is not nearly as depressing as winter, but the ever-changing weather and unpredictable rainfall still upset me for the month I spent there.
Living near the beach in Malibu, I often take the pleasant weather for granted. Life in the UK is the total opposite. I attended the London Religion program this summer, yet the frequent rainfall and depressed look of London residents often made me wonder: is this actually the city I was so eager to come to?
I was used to leaving the umbrella at home most times of the year. However, in London, a sudden rain after dinner soaked my pants on my way back to the house.
I could hardly see anything wearing glasses. The rain disrupted my plan for the rest of the evening, and the worst part was it ruined the food in my paper to-go box.
Don’t get me wrong — the program was terrific, and the London Waves were lovely. It was just the weather let me down.
The London weather was surprisingly nice on our arrival, compared to the stereotypical impression that it always rains. I let my guard down for some days, and then came the pouring rain.
During a short travel break in the second half of the program, my friends and I decided to go to Edinburgh, Scotland, another city with fascinating architecture and pubs. It has a summer average high temperature of 66°F — the same as the summer lower average in LA. Five minutes after leaving the train station, the chilling wind blew our umbrellas inside out.
On the second day, we hopped on a small ferry to Inchcolm Island for the adorable puffins and the medieval abbey. While my friends were sitting on the upper deck to enjoy the view, I was huddling on the lower deck with the company of a wailing toddler for half an hour just to seek shelter from the wind.
Often, UV exposure concerns Southern California residents. UV index forecast shows that UV reaches level 11 at the beginning of August, which indicates the highest risk of damage to the skin and eyes.
In comparison, the UV peak in London stays between four and six in the same period, according to uvindex.app.
Despite the benefits of lower UV exposure, cloudier weather also comes with a risk of vitamin D deficiency.
While regular intake of most vitamins is through food, ultraviolet B radiation on the skin triggers a photosynthetic reaction that generates vitamin D, according to a study on the benefits of sunlight from Environmental Health Perspectives.
A significant number of UK residents have a low vitamin D level, according to the UK National Health Service. Children with vitamin D deficiency are particularly vulnerable to rickets compared to other age groups.
Other than physical illnesses, such as muscle weakness and bone fractures, the consequences of lacking sunlight include depression.
Seasonal affective disorder, often known as seasonal depression, is more prevalent with shorter daylight time and insufficient sunlight exposure. Though the program was in the summer, I still felt less motivated than the days when I was in Malibu, where it felt like a mental rinse just standing in the sun.
Though Malibu has sunny days for most of the year, the weather is becoming a new trouble lately. Storms hit California with unusually heavy rainfall in January due to climate change, according to The New York Times.
One suggestion to avoid insufficient vitamin D is to consume more internally from food or tablets. Fatty fish and fish liver oil contain rich natural vitamin D, according to the National Institute of Health.
Even if it was not necessarily about the lack of sunlight exposure, the weather still had a negative impact on me because it took more energy to deal with unanticipated changes in an unfamiliar city. Drying my wet canvas shoes took three days before I learned the London weather forecast doesn’t offer much assistance.
Some practical solutions to living through London weather include packing a heavy-duty umbrella, down jackets and waterproof sneakers, according to the London School of Economics and Political Science management department blog.
In the rainy season in Malibu, Pepperdine Graphic advises commuting students to leave a stopping distance, drive slower and turn the headlights on.
Sunlight in Southern California can be too strong sometimes, but it is essential to our physical and mental health. Coming back from London reminds me to appreciate it more. Enjoy the sun whenever you have the chance.
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