When my husband first began meeting my extended family he had one question: what’s with all the turtlenecks?
“We’re from New England.” I explained.
When he spent more time with all of us, further questions arose about ‘itchy sweaters’ and handkerchiefs on call at all times and wool blankets. When he would visit my hometown in the winter, he would shiver and seem truly confounded on why any human being would actively choose this existence. The summers on the beach there helped explain the desire to live in New England on the water, but still, it clearly didn’t suit him.
Trying to get him to process that the first two and a half years of my life were spent in a town of 100 people in the White Mountains of Maine was no easier.
Once we began our own family we stayed in his neck of the woods – Washington, D.C. and then ended up in New York City and New Jersey. All somewhat of a compromise temperature-wise.
But then I made a decision for our family: we were moving to Miami. (Pitbull’s publicist clearly received my related press-release and knew it would make for a catchy summer hit.)
I know, you’d think the poor shivering soul would have been the one to make such a wild (and warm) decision, but it was me, with all sorts of motivations for family health and well-being.
Here’s what I didn’t take into consideration: my body – literally formed by my mother while living in the snowy mountains, whose first breaths were taken in alpine air, which was then raised where the winters chilled you to the BONE – was not made for tropical heat.
My body told me this for the first two months here in Miami. My ears and neck literally crisped up, no matter how much sunscreen I applied. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing perhaps my old turtlenecks could’ve come in handy…
These burns combined with relentless heat rash, creating a burning itchiness on my ears and neck and back that I could not sooth. My body was furious with me. And through it all my husband has been joyful, “I’ve never breathed better in my life! My skin feels so great here! I feel so healthy!” He was made for this.
The temperature has dropped to the 80s and I’ve learned to do this adult thing called ‘drying your hair’ which then allows for it to cover my neck and ears. It will all be okay.
But if you hear me tell an adorable little tale about a girl who made her way through the M’s of the East Coast – Maine, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Avenue (DC), Maryland, Manhattan, Maplewood, all the way to Miami – just know the truth is never as simple as the ridiculously alliterated tale at a cocktail party. (As I’m typing this I’m also suddenly making sense of so many awkward smiles when I tell stories at cocktail parties.)
So here I am, all the way from Maine to Miami, shivering in a very air-conditioned Starbucks, wishing I had on a sweater. Preferably with a turtleneck underneath.