In Germany we love the month of May. The days are long, the sun shines almost everyday, and the mood is up high.
My text today is probably a little too cliché and it doesn’t have to mirror the general Indonesian population. But at least, this is what I know from my youth time, as I was still living there. So everyone who’s not agreeing with me -> please do so!
At first I didn’t really understand why everyone here gets so crazy about the sun. That is because I come from a tropical country. In Indonesia, we actually avoid the sun. Who wants to get tanned in Indonesia? Pretty much no one. If an Indonesian woman has to leave home in the middle of the day, she would cover her skin, her face, her head, her eyes, put tons of sun screen and get an umbrella. An Indonesian doesn’t want to walk around at midday. And so yes, an indonesian woman would never sunbathe. If you go to the oh so famous Bali, you won’t find any Indonesian people on the beach between 11:00 – 16:00 (well, I would definitely NOT do that).
This is why I was at first a bit astounded, that everyone gets so extremely hyped up once the sunny months are coming. I couldn’t understand, how people would “grill” themselves for hours in the midday. And they turn red instead of brown. And I didn’t understand, why everyone would wear minis or hot pants or even practically nothing when the sun comes. I would just need to water my plants on the balcony for about 2 minutes in the midday and I would get “black”. So I used to be hiding in the living room with closed curtains, so that I can preserve my “whiteness”, which I have “earned” during the cold months.
In my youth I was made to play tennis 2 – 3 times a week OUTSIDE at around 2 – 3 p.m or I would swim outside once or twice a week. So yes, I was very tanned. Practically everyone (especially the women) complained, why I was so tanned. Someone even said, that I would never get married, if I stayed “that black”. I grew up believing that being “black” is not beautiful.
During my exchange year in Hannover I learned another aspect of being tanned. Suddenly everyone was complimenting my skin tone. Suddenly everyone would say, that this kind of skin tone would fit any colors of clothes. And at first I kept thinking,”are they crazy??? I would give up EVERYTHING to get white skin, blonde hair and green-blue eyes”.
It is indeed very interesting how different the mindsets of people could be. I don’t want to philosophize about such a complicated topic today. I just want to share, how I actually learned to be confident about myself by going to Germany for an exchange year. Suddenly I wasn’t the ugly duckling anymore just because I was so tanned. And I learned to believe, that everyone can be beautiful in their own way.
So yes. After only a couple of months experiencing the rude winter months in the North of Germany, I suddenly missed the sun VERY much. By the time May arrived, I would spend every sunny hour outside. I became to understand, why the Germans would “grill” themselves. I came back to Indonesia after 10 months in Hannover getting even more tanned as usual. And almost EVERYONE complained about it. But then I didn’t care anymore. In the mean time, I did even get married (okay..to a German), although I am still as tanned as I was 😉
Today at 2 p.m. we have 22 degrees in Franconia. And yes, I am ready to go out and get tanned 🙂