Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wear Sunscreen!

Something that was always fun about Italy was that people have no reservations when it comes to giving compliments. Saying hello to strangers was a pleasant experience because they would often reply "Ciao, bellissima!" (Hello, most beautiful.) I know that their response had very little to do with how I actually looked because I was a frumpy sister missionary. Still, it was nice to hear. It was something that reminded me that I was in Italy--most people just don't go around greeting strangers like that here.

I have a sister who does, though. (Number three. The one whose hair we dyed.) "Hey, beautiful," she'll greet us. [As an aside, one time a different sister went to pick Three up from the airport and brought a sign for her, and I think balloons. Instead of writing my sister's name on the sign, she put "Beautiful" on it. She said a bunch of people stopped her and thought they were really funny. They'd ask her, "Looking for me?" They would think they were so clever, but really she got it over and over again.]

Today, as I was walking home from school I got honked at three times. (And not for crossing in dangerous places.) It was the same guy, in his oh-so-sexy waste management dumpster collecting truck. He passed me three times separate times during my five-mile walk.

It really made me laugh. Here's why: I look ridiculous. If I had worn shorts, he would've seen that my legs are red as a lobster, but just up to my knees. More sun on my legs hurts more than fabric rubbing against them, though, so I wore pants. I am so sunburnt. I can't even walk! I hobble.

Yesterday, Mom had a Board meeting for the breastfeeding group that she volunteers with. They had it at somebody's house in Newport beach. It was beach-front property, so my sister and I spent all day at the beach while Mom was at her meeting.

The afternoon was pleasant. There was sand, there were waves, and there were hundreds of little kids (aged...6-12?) in red suits, all participating in the Jr. Lifeguard program. They were adorable. We had fun watching them do their trainings since they were on both sides of where we had set up. Some of them surfed, they swam a lot, etc. All in groups of like, fifty. (Half of the group went to swim around something, and when they came back the other kids wanted to know if it was easy. "Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy," one kid told his friends.)

So, my sister and I laid out under a canopy and I studied math, and she rested. Except, see, I didn't realize that my legs were out from underneath the shade. I promptly burned the backs of my legs to halfway up my calves. Whoops. And it hurt, so I rolled up my capris so that they were at my knees. That way, they wouldn't rub against the burned part. Big mistake. I thought that since it was already 4ish pm, I'd be fine...

After a while longer, my sister and I were ready to go. Mom was still at her meeting. My sister and I built a big sand sculpture of a lady feeding her baby. We collected shells so that could be
more colorful. The baby had reddish hair and was in a white blanket, and the momma had blonde hair. And purple eyes, and red lips. It was a very original piece, and all of the old ladies at Mom's meeting really enjoyed it. My sister took pictures of it with her cellphone.

...but I ended up burning the rest of my calves. Pretty badly, too. Drat.

On the way home, we stopped at the neighbor's house for aloe vera. My sister said they had some and that they never use it. It turns out, they practically have a jungle of aloe vera. Now we're best friends. They gave me two giant stalks. And asked if I knew how to apply it. "Lavishly," I told them; they laughed.

So I went home, and I applied it. Twice. But it still hurt. And I had filmy legs.

Walking has been tricky because (at least initially, for the first little bit after I stand up) I have to keep my knees bent. My toes point out all funny. I barely lift my feet and shift them forward a couple inches. It's like whenever the muscles under my skin move, it moves the skin on top. And that hurts. Really, it's pretty pathetic looking.

Here's a suggestion, kids: Don't get sunburned the night before you have an important final.

My attempts to get some rest were futile. I tried laying down and couldn't really. I tried finding some comfortable position, but there was none. I tried laying sideways on my bed so that my bum was on the edge and my feet were on the floor. It was hopeless. I got up and took Tylenol. It didn't help. I put more aloe vera on. It still hurt. I remembered a tube of Neosporin, which I began to love while I was on my mission. I remembered that it said "+ Pain Relief!" on the outside, and I went to my other bedroom to get it. Sure enough, it listed burns as one of the things that you could apply it to. Sweet! I applied it, and boy did I ever. Instead of a tiny dab of it, I wore it like it was going out of style. And I think it helped. Maybe I just felt like it did because I wanted it to so badly.

I put a big fan at the end of my bed and finally, after a long time, I fell asleep. I woke up a bunch, and didn't get much rest, but... I did eventually sleep.

When I woke up in the morning, I couldn't walk at all. It was kind of like waking up with pink eye, and your eyes are glued shut... One of those things where you're just like, "Huh. Now what." My legs are still cherry-popsicle red, and have impressive purple welts. Diiiiissgusting.

After about fifteen minutes of holding walls and sitting down every few seconds, I finally got to where I could walk. And even this afternoon, standing in one place still hurts quite a bit, but when I get started walking, I'm mostly fine.

My math final went all right. I'm glad the class is over. You know how people talk like the people they're around? I've noticed over the past few days that sometimes I echo my math teacher. He says, "Oh, reeeeeallaaaaayyyyy?" when we supply an incorrect answer in class. And sometimes, I hear that in my head when people tell me things that I know are wrong. Just like before, I would sometimes want to answer our house phone like it was my restaurant phone. Funny.

We killed the manti. Not on purpose, or anything. I didn't feed them to the lizard. I think they just dried out. I don't know how it happened, but I'm not too surprised that it did.


Optimistic. said...

Wow. I don't think that I've ever been sunburnt that badly before, although that might have something to do with the fact that I don't actually leave my apartment. To my knowledge, one can't actually be sunburned by the healthy glow of a computer monitor.

Tolkien Boy said...

Although Petra makes fun of me for not wearing sunscreen, in the end it's the only enviornmentally healthy thing to do. I applaud your decision and your willingness to suffer the detrimental aftereffects.

Patty said...

Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog, its full of enthusiasm and I like that.
I will be checking back on a regular basis.
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment !

Lavish said...


Heh heh heh.

Cicada said...

This is one of my favorite posts. I think you'll appreciate it more than most people:

Pure Tu Sei Bella

Also, one day I was walking home from the gym here and I saw a window of a car start rolling down. Not even thinking that I wasn't in Italy anymore, I just thought, "Oh, boy. Here it comes. A cat call." And then I heard a man yell, "Ciao, Sorella!" I thought, "Yep. There it is..." and then I thought, "Waitaminute. I'm not in Italy. Why would anyone be yelling Ciao Sorella at me?" I looked and it was an old Zone Leader.