Warning: Do not read on if you don’t want to read graphic descriptions and see pictures of naked children….
ok, so backing up, I have to tell you that when I first came to America just over 15 years ago, I felt like I had to learn another language. There were so many words and phrases that meant different things and I was misunderstood all the time. I started keeping a journal, and in the front cover I would keep an English/American translation of various words. For example, you are probably all aware of some of the food differences, chips/fries, crisps/chips, fizzy/soda. There are lots of car differences too…petrol/gas, bonnet/hood, boot/trunk, windshield/windscreen. I also found lots of differences with baby items…pushchair/stroller, nappy/diaper, dummy/pacifier, and the list goes on. Some of these words were explained to me by others, and some of them I had to learn for myself… the hard way.
I was working as an Au Pair in New York and took care of three children aged 3, 6 and 7. One of the boys, Jeffrey, was a really skinny boy, and I was shocked one day at the dinner table to hear his mother say to his grandmother, “Jeffrey’s fanny is only this wide” and then hold up her hands about 6 inches apart, to which they both started laughing hysterically. I was shocked, because if you didn’t know, the word “fanny” in Great Britain refers to a private part of the female body, yes, the “v” word. I blew this off and didn’t make the connection with the word difference at this point, it was only a few weeks later when we were at the beach in New Jersey and the mother called her other son over to her telling him that she needed to “cream his fanny” Hmmmm, once I could ignore, twice I couldn’t, so I asked her what she meant and got my answer, a fanny was only a bottom in America. Phew! Still made me cringe for several years after that to hear a word that was so private to me being used so blatantly out in the open and to tell jokes, but I desensitized myself and finally got used to it.
Well, as you know, we are trying to adjust to the heat in American Samoa. Most days is it around 83 or 84 degrees, but there is 80% humidity, so it feels 20 degrees more than that. We are really glad that we came when we did, because here in the Southern hemisphere it is winter now, and the coolest time of the year. Glad we can build up to the summer temperatures slowly! We have been taking 2-3 showers a day to try and keep cool, but we still have heat rashes. The danger with heat rashes here is that they can turn into boils, get infected etc, and we have been told that we should stay away from the hospital here at all costs, and to try all home remedies first. So, home remedy number one is that when we get out of the shower, we need to make sure that we are totally dry before we put any clothes on. This is harder for the kids, who normally get dressed pretty quickly, and they have rashes in their private parts from not drying in all the creases (told you it would be a graphic post!) Our new method that the kids seem to be enjoying for right now is the “fanning fannies” method. Because we are normally a conservative family who don’t see each other’s naked bodies, the kids were a little “excited” at being allowed to be naked for a few minutes after the shower, and started dancing around and being silly. In order to maintain some level of modesty and respect for their bodies, we had them line up in a row in front of the fan and get themselves dry. For some reason doing it in an orderly fashion in a row seems more respectful of our bodies. Don’t judge us, we’re just trying to figure out this “living on the equator” thing! Made sure that the photo was appropriate and that none of my children would disown me in the future 🙂