Once upon a time, there was a little girl who grew up in a land far, far away called New Mexico (close to, but not identical to, Old Mexico), and she loved the sun. She grew up under the sun. She understood that tanning beds were unnecessary: laying in one’s backyard with SPF and a book was a ritual that could happen in March–although wearing shorts and a T-shirt as early as February wasn’t altogether unheard of. Thus, by the time June rolled around, she’d become a pleasant shade of honey and was ready for the summer.
That little girl (spoiler alert) was me, and I’m sad to say those days are long gone. In the last five years of New England living, especially the last six months of cold and snow and rain, I’ve turned a sickly shade of pale. I remember when I first returned from Dartmouth on a school break, and I was greeted by all of my tennis friends. Their reaction, unanimously, was, “Wow–I’ve never seen you so white!”
Why yes, thank you.
Somewhat ironically, the week before I left on vacation, my roommate and a handful of friends in Rhode Island commented of my legs, wondering, “How are you so tan?”
Even though I knew I was pale, this false sense of confidence must have gone straight to my head because I arrived to Hawaii thinking I was Little Miss [New Mexico] Sunshine, impervious to early morning sun at 8:30am.
Do you know what happens at 8:30am on a sunny day in New England?
But do you know what happens at 8:30am in Hawaii when one decides to go for a morning swim?
This. This happens.
As my friend Nikitas commented, “You look like the love child between a zebra and a lobster.”
And I’m not even showing you the worst part of the burn for reasons of modesty, but let’s just say it hurt to sit and to sleep for two days.
I haven’t been burned in such a long time that this feels like the sun has waged war against me. In an act of desperate defense, after using a bottle of aloe and avoiding direct sunlight for 48 hours, I’ve now resorted to layers of sunscreen. I applied SPF50 at least three times today–I was only outside for 4 hours–because I WILL NOT LET THE SUN BULLY ME. I refuse to be sequestered into the shade!
(unless, that is, I start to overheat, which is 15x more likely now that I’m in my 30’s)
On one of the days I was out of commission, we went for a hike. This is me, hiking in Hawaii.
The hike was actually quite lovely, and the sun did come out. Here are some other shots:
We saw these trees that I dubbed “The Love Trees” because they were entwined and looked like they were in love (as much as a tree can, I suppose), but then my mom pointed out that they were actually just one tree that had split. Siamese trees?
I prefer my original idea.
And, as of yesterday, my stripes faded, and I was able to swim again.
I’d say it was worth it.