A Vampire in New Zealand

The sun here is really bright

Jon Bell
Jon Bell
Feb 18 · 2 min read

I noticed my skin tingling within an hour of arriving in New Zealand for the first time. The sun here is strong. So strong that schoolchildren are required to carry a hat as part of their school equipment. So strong that the UV levels are higher than anything in the Mediterranean, meaning you’ll burn faster here than most places in the world. Kiwis actually age faster, because of the extra UV their skin absorbs throughout their lives.

“Good thing we moved to the worst country on earth for you,” my wife likes to joke. “If it were up to you, you’d stay inside with all the curtains drawn, you vampire.” And she’s not wrong. I love warm, sunny days. I love the sun. But I love it even more when I can enjoy it from shade. Preferably indoors. With a breeze. And the option to pull the blinds down.

Since I was young, I never really understood why people liked to roast themselves in the sun. The sun physically hurts my skin, so I might be part vampire. And in fact, I recently discovered a skin disorder where people experience discomfort when exposed to direct sunlight. And I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I have.

So we moved to the worst country in the world for people with my particular kind of vampire disorder. But it’s ok. It’s still worth it.

New Zealand Immigrant

What it’s like to move from Seattle to Wellington

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