Friday, September 18, 2009

Top 10 must haves if you’re gonna move to Haiti—#8

If you’re gonna move to Haiti, sooner or later, you’re probably going to have to/want to spend significant time searching out ways to cool down. The best way I have found to do this (other than finding reasons to go for a drive merely because your vehicle has air conditioning) is by swimming. Be it at a bleach-y (literally) pool or the serene trash-ridden beach, swimming is TRULY the best way to cool down around here. This presents a problem. Who the heck likes to don a bathing suit? Not this chica.

However, I have made an all-important discovery. Life is too dang short to not enjoy yourself while swimming because you don’t like how you look in a bathing suit. Far too short. And spending time in Haiti makes you realize pretty quickly that being concerned with how you look in a swimsuit is (to quote my friend CC) a “rich person problem.” It’s actually much easier to see this here. When you’re swimming next to a child who has NO bathing suit, a swollen belly, and the orange-y tint to their hair denoting severe malnutrition, looking bad in a bathing suit suddenly doesn’t seem that important.

Plus the beach is REALLY fun. REALLY fun. Jumping waves with the kiddos, teaching the littles how to swim, making sandcastles and playing Frisbee, it’s GREAT fun. You can’t hit Basin Bleu (my favorite place on earth) and not swim, so seriously folks, let’s just move past this, “I hate how I look in a bathing suit” business. So, now that my soapbox moment is over—let me get to the heart of what I am really saying.

You need at least 2 bathing suits you feel comfortable wearing in public. Three would be better. Now, nice bathing suits are expensive (I like suits from Lands End). So WHY do you need three? Well, really, you only need two. But then you might (hypothetically) visit a pool that’s been “chlorinated” with TONS o’ bleach, such as at (hypothetically) Coconut Villa, on Delmas 19, and it might (hypothetically) eat holes in your bathing suit. Then you’ll be down to two. And since clothing is hand-washed and line-dried, this process takes a while. It is my opinion that you need two.

Do I like being a bathing suit? No way. I actually kind of hate it. But I am trying to “evolve” to the point in my life where I don’t let really shallow things like that impede me from enjoying myself. Because really, no one else cares. And if they do, screw them. (I deleted the words “screw them” about 5 times and tried to think of a more polite way to say it, but all I could think of was less polite ways, so I decided to stick with it.)

So bring some good suits with you—even if you have to spend a little money...


  1. Love this post, Gwennie.

    You're right-- screw them!

  2. Lands' End rocks bathing suits. Worth every penny. If you can find what you need in the clearance section, the prices are not so out of line. Even if you can't - so worth it.

  3. Gwenn, you've got me laughing with shared experience here! I have actually seen the guy at Coconut Villa pouring bleach directly into the pool... when we asked about the children swimming after wards he said, "don't worry, no danger. we do this every night"!!! As for Bassin Bleu, once you've been in Haiti long enough you may develop the affliction I have, which is not wanting to swim there because the water is TOO COLD. I know that could sound insane, especially for a nice New England girl like me, but I do not like to swim in BB in February :) You nailed it with you comment about Haiti teaching you it's not important to feel insecure about your body in a bathing suit, I had the same revelation myself some years ago!


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