“Serving abroad as a small-town boy from America is intense, stressful, and fun! Enjoy with me a lighthearted story from our last 20 years abroad!”
Do you remember ever getting a tingly, painful sunburn on your neck or back? I remember the years in Indiana when it seemed like the spring weather would never come, and then it did. Inevitably, this meant a “pre-season sunburn” in the days before anyone used sunscreen. Eventually, the skin adjusted and turned into a kind of tan.
There are many home remedies and placebos to deal with rough seas. I often lie flat, munch on raw ginger, suck on lemon wedges, and pray like crazy for calm seas.
Since we live abroad in a place that has summer and spring weather all year round, we get tourists from many sun-starved places in Europe. We can have UV indices of 11 and more all year round. As we walk to our airport, we look at speedily arriving tourists who are snow white. We then go to the other end of the airport where the departing passengers walk cautiously with pink and red sunburnt legs and arms.
One summer our sons got badly sunburned. We had a two day boat trip and the sea was very rough. I flopped into my bed to try and sleep my way through the rough sea. My sons felt they could handle the waves better when they were out on the main deck and I agreed in a semi-conscious state of nausea. Periodically they returned to our hut to see how I was doing and then went outside again during the two days.
We still have those desert hats in a closet, but our sons haven’t worn them since that summer trip years ago.
When I arrived at the port after two days, I noticed that my sons’ necks and heads were badly burned by the sun. The cool sea breeze made us forget the intense rays of the sun. Had there been a hospital nearby we would have paid a visit but that was not an option. We were now ready to travel for a month with plenty of time outside and her weeping and damaged skin needed weeks to be covered to heal. We found a surplus store that sold hats with long built-in bandanas that stretched around the sides and back. Caps of this style were not common at the time for those not trekking across the Sahara. The hats didn’t meet the boys’ fashion standards, but there was no other option. They wore these desert hats every time they were out for the rest of the trip.
To this day, when we pull out photos from that summer (their desert hats with them), the boys still roll their eyes and remind me that they got to spend two full days on the boat’s main deck.
Has anything similar ever happened to you? Contact me and let me hear your story!
[email protected] Matt’s Pannen, PO Box 114, Grabill, IN 46741