Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Scars are Just Permanent Memories of Past Adventures

On my inside of my right ankle, there's a two-and-a-half-inch scar in the shape of a perfect circle.

Every now and then, some acquaintance will notice it and ask me how in the world I got it.

Here's the whole story.

Senior year of high school is marked by several things: college apps, last times, leadership positions in all your extracurriculars, and at my high school, our end-of-the-year senior trip. Most schools lend their students a bus or two so they can hit up Disneyland for a night. Our school... we go to Hawaii.

Technically, our class could have voted to go anywhere we wanted, as long as it was in the United States and our parents were willing to foot the bill. But it was kind of tradition to pick Hawaii, since New York/DC was tenth grade's trip and we went to Arizona/American Southwest in eighth grade. We'd spent years observing the senior class' unabashed excitement for their trip {our school runs from K thru 12th} and they always came back in time for graduation tanned and beaming, so why would we want to miss out on all the fun?

One of the things that we weren't really looking forward to was being eaten alive by the infamously hungry Hawaiian mosquitoes. Those seniors who went before us came back tanned, but most of them also came back covered with angry, red welts. Ick. Our class actually did okay fending off the bloodsuckers, with the exception of a few unfortunate souls, but I lucked out with the mosquito bite to end all bites.

What was really weird and rather eye-roll-inducing was that I only got ONE bite the entire time we were on the islands. It just happened to be a doozy. Really, mosquitoes? Really? Sigh.

I have a track record of reacting badly to mosquito and spider bites about 65% of the time. {Granted, I don't attract bugs that often, which is why the percentage is so high-- when I do get a rare bite, those bugs mean business}. The spot will swell up, get puffy, and generally look super scary to unsuspecting people so that their eyes look like this when they see it: O.O

If you get grossed out easily, skip this paragraph, dears. Basically, by the end of the trip, I had a giant bubble of liquid, two inches wide and about an inch high, under my skin that had all the admin/teachers freaking out and required three bandaids to cover. 

Okay, you can keep reading now. Just so you know, the bite didn't hurt. Well, unless you bumped into it, but what I mean is, its existence and size didn't worry me the way it did my friends and chaperones. Sure it was a little larger than expected, but this had happened before {for some reason, mosquitoes find my ankles particularly delicious}, so I wasn't surprised.

When we landed back at home and reunited with our parentals at the airport, the admin pulled my mom aside to tell her the awful news: your precious daughter has a bug bite the size and shape of a ping pong ball on her ankle and refused to realize how big a deal it was. SAM REFUSED TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. WE TRIED TO HELP, SAM'S MOM, WE TRIED! Please don't be mad at us.

My mom laughed.

She'd seen my odd reactions to insect bites before, so she knew I knew what I was doing. Plus, my mother knows how low my tolerance for pain is, so it couldn't be too bad if I wasn't complaining my head off about it. The admin were confused... and decently aghast at how flippant this woman was being towards her daughter's health. Poor dears.

My ankle recovered, obviously, although I kept an oversized bandaid on the bite site for quite a while as it healed. Like... months. O.o

But it's a rather fun story to tell. Not delightful at the time, but in retrospect, not too bad. I'm rather amused by how horrified people are to find out that scar is from a bug bite. It IS rather intimidating, I suppose.

What they don't know is that every time I look at that scar, I smile and shake my head. Because that permanent mark etched in my skin brings back memories of good times. Of cartwheels in the sand and playing on the beach after sunset. Of being trapped in the hotel room because I had a cold and my besties being sweet enough to run down to The ABC Store to get me orange juice. Of losing my voice and trying to sign up for college orientation at six in the morning on a hotel computer {yay, time change}. Of late night talks under the covers and defeating flying cockroaches the size of our thumbs. Of attempting backflips off boats and walking through lava tunnels. Of a crazy volcano night hike with the threat of acid rain and getting to know my future college roomie so much better. Of spending a full week surrounded by people I adored and making memories that still make me smile.

I love this scar. It means I adventured and lived to tell the tale.

Sure, bad things happen, and they can suck at the time and maybe were a little painful too, but ultimately it comes back around to good, right? I choose to look on the bright side-- I brought home the most unique, one-of-a-kind souvenir from an amazing trip to Hawaii that has hundreds of memories tied up into it. And how many people can say that?

Just... be careful around Kona mosquitoes. They're scary.

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