Imagine you’re there with me… It’s Aruba in November 2012…
Sometimes even the smallest things can turn into real projects when you have nothing else to do. A holiday is a classic example of this…
We sunbathed on our stretch of Eagle Beach daily, swam, and read books for a whole month. Though it initially seemed like a long time, it went by quickly. It was but a short moment in our lives.
I adore sunbathing but I’m fair-skinned (Okay, okay, I’m pale as a ghost! Not very flattering, to tell you the truth). Though I don’t usually get sunburned if I continuously lather on layers of sunscreen, I don’t really tan either. Unless I spend several months in a sunny country – one month just isn’t long enough!
Hubby, however, develops a very nice, dark tan in just a few hours, and on long holidays his tan deepens day after day. And Aruba was no exception. (Not that this was a contest. I’m well aware of skin cancer.)
I couldn’t help it, I seemed to be constantly monitoring my progress. I noticed that my hair had gotten golden highlights and gradually, I could see some other small changes happening. I didn’t look as tired anymore and I felt happier. Vitamin-D-infused and energetic.
During the very last days of our beach holiday, I was finally feeling pretty content with my slightly healthier skin tone – still not exactly bronzed, but I could see faint tan lines and that was way better than nothing!
I felt weirdly proud, almost as if I’d accomplished something. A feeling I rarely get even when I’ve actually accomplished something! I wonder why tanning felt so good.
It was winter back home and to be bluntly honest, the only part of returning home that I was even remotely looking forward to was showing off my new beach look to friends who’d stayed behind to work at their office jobs, while we went on holiday.
I still remembered how tanned and relaxed they had all looked after their long summer holidays, while I had been working all summer without a break, listening to fun stories about leisurely countryside cottages and unattainable summer activities. It was finally my turn.
Our holiday had been long overdue, but now I was finally, officially relaxed. For a northener, having a tan is like evidence: yes, I was somewhere warmer than you. Yes, I had a fun time.
Without a tan, who would’ve even known about all the fun, exotic adventures I’d just returned from?
On one of our very last evenings in Aruba, we stopped at a street market. I chatted with some of the vendors and idly browsed the selection of handmade jewellery. Should I buy these earrings… maybe that bracelet…
And then one of vendors, a local woman with a huge, friendly smile, started chatting with me.
She asked me if we’d just arrived today.
Since I was still looking so pale, I obviously hadn’t been to the beach yet, she added innocently.
If only she knew!