Sunday, February 27, 2011

A lesson worth learning

So here's the thing...

I come from a place (the US, you know, just in case you forgot) where in the summer, pasty white is definitely not a good thing. In fact it is frowned upon. Maybe even considered sickly to be so pale. There are many jokes...ones like blinding people in direct sunlight which may or may not be true .


However here in Brazil, people are HORRIFIED that I would want to be tan. They are equally horrified if I get burnt. I am lectured constantly about sunscreen, umbrellas, and freckles. I get freckles if I get sun...here it is not cute. It's a hard mindset to change. Especially when people get a look at you for the first time and the first thing out of their mouth is something to the effect of, "nossa, ela é branquinha demais!" (or, "oh my gosh, she is so white!")

Normally I don't mind except that one time a cashier asked me if i ever went out in the sun and then I wanted to reach across the cash register and give her my own special ray of sunshine ...normally it's just a comment, but it's hard not to take it as a negative given what the culture is geared towards back home. (And I know a lot of people back home are very conscious of the sun too and are big advocates of sunblock, just throwing that out there)

So anyway, why all this? I'm burnt of course. So I will take the next few days of all the stares (they can't believe a person can be so red), the lectures, and I will nod my head and agree. Then I will embrace the whiteness. I will learn the lesson. I will use sunscreen daily. I will use the umbrella in the middle of the day when waiting for the bus or walking in the sun (although I really hate it). I will see it as a good thing. Even when little kids follow me around whispering because they have never seen someone so white. True story y'all. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

11 comments:

Eve said...

I volunteered to be the guinea pig for a woman who needed to learn how to apply spray tans. As she was tanning me, she exclaimed how wonderful it was that I was "SO WHITE" because it made it easier to see where she had already sprayed the tanning solution. Haha... first time I ever heard "white" as a compliment! ;)

Jim said...

Get a really, really cool and unusual umbrella/parasol made of a beautiful cloth or paper, maybe with fringe, and set a trend in motion. Embrace the fashion of it.

Fabiola Andreia said...

I grew up trying to get tan. Nowadays, I run from the sun like the devil runs from the cross.
And I am terrified when people like one of my co-workers spends her weekends FRYING on the sun ; )

Welcome the new tan.... I'm proud to be so branquinha.

The Brazil Nuts said...

When I was in Belem and I would ride the bus, the little old ladies would want to touch my skin because the marveled at how white I was!!

Nani said...

I got your email. I was so happy you wrote me! haha I didn't know you read the blog. I used to write in English before but gave up since most people who read it are Brazilians. I am glad it helps with your Portuguese.

As for the color of your Skin, I think it's beautiful. I like having dark skin but I always envied friends who had white skin, it goes well with everything, it's like porcelain, delicate, and feminine. Just beautiful. You know, there is white people in Brazil too. I don't know why they are do "surprised" when they see you.
You should though, worry about the UVA lights (or whatever that's called). Brazil is very high in the UVA scale. So please start wearing sun screen.

:)

Lori said...

Yes, definitely wear sunscreen! I am from Hawaii, but am very fair and I burn easily. It is no good-- especially when you see how leather-like your skin can turn from too much sun and no sunscreen/protection!

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Michele said...

OMGosh, I remember the days when I used to lay outside on black top and use baby oil, just so I could get burned...ugh!

Hope you start feeling better..missed your blogs, but I'm back to blogland!

Hugz,
Michele

Laural Out Loud said...

I'm white as heck, lol. I used to get a spray tan each time I traveled to Brazil, but I gave it up the last two times. My MIL was sooo embarrassed to be seen with me in public, so of course I will continue to be white white white on all future trips. When we move there, though, I'm going to have to figure out how to protect myself better from that burning sun. So sorry you got burned! And I love using umbrellas for snow and sun, not just for rain!

bornagainbrazilian said...

Ugh. I've had to learn that lesson the hard way. We had our wedding here in Brazil, in Buzios, and a few days before I got burned, only I was wearing a t-shirt when it happened. And my wedding dress was a strapless number... can you imagine? My soon to be mother-in-law and her friends were so horrified, I was quite grateful I didn't speak much Portuguese.

Now, I'm much more careful. I still get hassled sometimes about being so white (from those that have forgotten about the wedding incident) but I just respond "...like an angel!"

Michelle said...

oh wow, that has to be annoying after awhile!