Australia is not exactly an environment for the fair-skinned ginger. In fact, one wouldn’t be surprised to see one of us redheaded folk burst into flames after a mere 10 minutes in the sun!
But here you have it. I’m living proof of a redhead born and bred in Australia. Perth, Western Australia to be precise. Pasty white. Freckly. Sensitive (my skin, that is).
I’ve lived in Perth for most of my life and definitely don’t fit into the atypical Aussie stereotype of blonde, blue-eyed, and tanned.
My family originates from the UK, which may explain the hair colour and complexion. For part of my youth, we lived in a mining town, which was nothing more than scrub, red dirt, salt marshes and sun. We then moved to a farm…5 acres of ‘land’, which wasn’t much more than dried up grass (hay for the sheep), a mostly dried up water-dam, scrub and sun. At the end of my teenage years, we moved near the beach – finally WATER! And sand, surf and sun…
10 minutes in the sun where I live – which is Perth, Western Australia – sees me ‘glowing’ red, the sun having commenced its roasting process. I worried the other day when I looked in the mirror after attending a barbecue where there was a pool. I never usually swim until it is about 35 degrees, and with the prediction of 41, I didn’t hesitate to prun-ify myself. But after getting home and looking at myself in the mirror, my freckles seemed to have taken it upon themselves to get busy and breed. An explosion had occurred all over my face, with a whole lot of baby freckles as a result. Joy.
Note: For those sun-smart individuals who may want to lecture me on the perils of not ‘slipping, slopping and slapping’, I was wearing sunscreen…that doesn’t stop my freckles. Nothing does (except maybe Winter).
A Redhead in Australia
A typical summer in Perth is a solid few days of 40 degree (celsius) heat. We get heat waves every Summer…In January and February, the weather prediction is hot, hot, hot, with a possible dose of humidity thrown in for good measure. More times than not though, there’s not much humidity. We here in Perth, and the greater part of Western Australia, get that dry, harsh heat, whereby the minute you step outside and breathe, you gasp from the sudden dryness in your throat, and your lungs scream from the shock of leaving cool air to something that is more like what it would be on Mars. This is possibly why I love going to somewhere like Singapore for a visit, as it’s hot AND humid. Sure – your hair frizzes, and you sweat buckets, but at least there’s some degree of moisture, and you don’t fry after 10 minutes tackling the elements!
I could move to a place with a cooler climate. Yes I could. But I can’t even tolerate the Australian winter, which from the accounts of friends overseas is nothing. Shout out to those in the UK at the moment doing it tough! (Although I have spent winters overseas and have had no issues – that would be thanks to a thing I love called central heating).
So, I’m still in Perth, loving being warm, but not really being able to go outside. In fact, I was sitting in the car earlier today on the way to the shops to get some groceries, and I felt like a vampire, shying away from the sun’s rays that were trying to ‘kiss’ my skin.
Sometimes I do really question whether I was born in the right country!
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