Scenes from a rainy day at Berkeley

On a recent stormy winter day, UC Berkeley linguistics student Irene Yi grabbed her camera and captured how her fellow Berkeleyans were responding to the rain. Some, like first-year student Katherine Elias, were loving the cozy, refreshing weather while others, like third-year JR Puerto, were a little over it.

“I’m never prepared for it,” Puerto said. “I don’t ever check the forecast, so I always go out with a regular shirt and some jeans. When I realize that it’s going to rain, I’m like, ‘Oh, shoot!’”

See Yi’s photos below.


a man stands under an umbrella while holding a door

Florian Wagner, a visiting fellow at the Institute of European Studies (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I’m from Germany, so I’m sort of used to the rain,” says Wagner, “though I think it’s a little bit more difficult here in Berkeley because the streets are not made for rain. I like the rain. It’s good to stay inside and get some work done; it’s the best part about the rain — just sitting inside, focusing on yourself and your work. I have friends from California who actually don’t leave the house when it’s raining. They cancel any plans they have, like dinner or something. It’s strange to me. I think Californians have a different way of dealing with the rain.”

a man collapses his umbrella

Third-year undergraduate JR Puerto (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I’m from Lancaster, California, which is in the middle of the Mojave Desert,” says Puerto. “Because of that, I used to be very happy whenever there was rain because we didn’t see it much. Now that I’m here in Berkeley, though, it’s a little too much rain for me. I’m never prepared for it. I don’t ever check the forecast, so I always go out with a regular shirt and some jeans. When I realize that it’s going to rain, I’m like, ‘Oh, shoot!’

a man stands under an open umbrella

Justin Dela Cruz, second-year student (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I’m from the middle of nowhere in California, so I’m not used to the rain — not to this extent, at least. Since coming to Berkeley, I’m starting to get used to the rain. I honestly kind of like it, except for the fact that it’s wet. Other than that, it’s nice. It’s a little bit relaxing, actually. Sometimes the weather in Berkeley can be unpredictable. It’ll be cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon, and then super cold again in the evening. The weather is kind of polarizing and you can never predict it, so it’s good to have layers.”

Robert Maldonado, first-year student (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I actually just bought this umbrella,” says Maldonado. “I lost my other umbrella last semester, and I decided to buy one just now. I didn’t have one before coming to Berkeley. I’m from near L.A., so I’m not used to this rain. It’s probably because I’m from California and don’t have to deal with it very often. I’m not prepared for the rain at all, but it gives me an excuse to stay in my room.”

a person hides behind a blue umbrella

A first-year student who wanted to remain anonymous (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I hate the rain. It makes me very depressed. It makes my skin crawl. It makes me regret ever leaving the desert that I was born in. I miss the desert and I miss Los Angeles. The rain is very inconvenient. It’s hard to get to class when you’re wet, cold and sad. You can’t walk in the streets because there are puddles everywhere. There are no upsides to the rain — I guess it helps California’s drought. I don’t see how that helps me directly, though, so the rain has no positive sides that immediately affect my life.”


a woman looks at the camera while holding food

Katherine Elias, first-year student (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I like the rain because it makes me feel fresh afterwords,” says Elias. “The environment feels cleansed. I’m from Manhattan Beach, California. I think rain is a novelty that SoCal people associate with Berkeley. Rain is part of the character of of Northern California. I have danced in the rain before, actually. Growing up, my favorite musical was Singing in the Rain. I was at a Model UN conference in Berkeley and it started pouring. The streetlight poles on Telegraph Ave. are exactly like the ones in Singing in the Rain from the scene where they dance around telephone poles, so I took my umbrella and danced around the poles like I was in Singing in the Rain.”

a woman holds vegetables in front of her eyes

Kayla Cohen, first-year student (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

“I love the rain. It makes me so happy!” says Cohen. “I like the cold feeling outside, but I also like to stay indoors when it rains. I’m from L.A., and it basically doesn’t rain at all there. When it does, Snapchat blows up with pictures of the rain. Schools close because of the rain. I had a ‘rain day’ in eighth grade. My middle school was outdoors, so all the hallways that were outdoors flooded when it rained. The telephone lines wouldn’t work, either, so they cancelled classes.”


Third-year Patrica Besada also went out to get video of the rainy scenes in Berkeley. (UC Berkeley video by Patrica Besada)