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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Chiggers in Paradise

Chiggers in Paradise

We are sadly now at the end of summer. I can’t believe it! The season gets more fleet of foot by the year. And don’t even get me started on my latest rant against Lana del Rey’s song, “Summertime Sadness.” Hello? It’s Wintertime SADness. As in, seasonal affective disorder. Summer is happy! Per Paul, let’s take a sad song and make it better. Not take an objectively wonderful season and make it dirge-like (see also: the needlessly elegiac Charlie Brown Christmas song)! I’m growing impatient with Lana’s publicity-grabbing shtick. Clearly, the woman would attend the opening of an envelope. Or, thanks to her music, A VEIN.

On the bright side, end of August/early September means last-hurrah Labor Day trips. Every year, my mom’s side of the family (the white ones) hosts a family reunion in the Deep South. For nearly 3 decades, we’ve all convened in South Carolina (or South Cackalacky, if we’re staying true to Deep South patois). The cities have changed — Charleston, Folly Beach, Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Island — but the general format and many traditions have endured. We’ve marked monumental occasions, like my aunt’s wedding 9 years ago. (Note: Aunt got married in a beautiful, Southern-infused Charleston wedding. Blake Lively/Ryan Reynolds got hitched at the same restaurant last year. YOU DO THE MATH.) We’ve marked trying occasions (like when my mom sliced her foot open with a glass and had to make a midnight trip to the ER. At the time, I was about 3 and I have only the vaguest memory. It’s now dawning on me that perhaps alcohol was involved??). And for the past two years, I’ve brought my boyfriend.

I could have brought him 3 years ago, but to paraphrase Destiny’s Child, I [didn’t] think [he] ready for this [Pawley]. There haven’t yet been brawls and fireworks, but I’m aware my Indian-by-way-of-New-Hampshire beau does not necessarily share the extreme views of my Scottish-by-way-of-Cackalacky family. To wit: extreme political conservatism, riotous parsimony and a predilection for languid afternoons spent at Ross Dress for Less. (If you’re wondering how the latter two square, please note that the marathon Ross excursions 1) don’t necessarily yield purchases, 2) involve hours spent lovingly browsing the fire sale clearance racks, searching for some gem to be found among the ripped, misshapen, or bodily fluid-smeared deeply discounted duds.)

Oh! There are also the regional- and climate-specific pests. To quote John Keats, “Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn / Among the river sallows, borne aloft / Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies.” TR;DR (Too Romantic; Didn’t Read): Pawleys Island, SC is filled with CHIGGERS. Chiggers, or trombiculidae (who calls them this?), are blood-sucking mites that leech all your blood and joie de vivre, leaving you an itchy, irritated and altogether defeated husk of a person, who certainly doesn’t want to set foot in the warzone (i.e., outside), and instead chooses to spend the entire vacation at Ross Dress for Less. And for whatever reason, they were all over our beach reunion this year! Very annoying.

Deepak and I forced ourselves to exercise each morning in order to combat the hedonistic crapulousness of vacation. This new yoga pose is called the Chigger Chopper.
Deepak and I forced ourselves to exercise each morning in order to combat the hedonistic crapulousness of vacation. This new yoga pose is called the Chigger Chopper.
The only thing that drew more blood than the chiggers was the extremely internecine and fraught family Taboo tournament.
The only thing that drew more blood than the chiggers was the extremely internecine and fraught family Taboo tournament.
Little sister made bacon-wrapped pretzels and other Southern delights. Move over, Paula Deen. Side note: Paula should have told people she was cursing chiggers.
Little sister made bacon-wrapped pretzels and other Southern delights. Move over, Paula Deen. Side note: Paula should have told people she was cursing chiggers.
Family photos!
Family photos!
They eschewed the Virginia wine and beelined for the beer.
They eschewed the Virginia wine and beelined for the beer.
The heat and still water drew out the chiggers. But those elements also made for good photos. Fine, chiggers. Anything for a picturesque backdrop.
The heat and still water drew out the chiggers. But those elements also made for good photos. Fine, chiggers. Anything for a picturesque backdrop.
Brought to you by blood-sucking mites®
Brought to you by blood-sucking mites®
My mom & me! Thankfully, inside. Not Ross.
My mom & me! Thankfully, inside. Not Ross.
Sister and me! Quin has always been the blasian.
Sister and me! Quin has always been the blasian.
My grandmother drank too much wine!
My grandmother drank too much wine!

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I made myself handy!
I made myself handy!

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Which they so appreciated.
Which they so appreciated.

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OMG, I spoke too soon. The thing that drew more blood than the chiggers AND the Taboo game was my dad. Quizzing everyone about Syria, Trayvon Martin and Obamacare.
OMG, I spoke too soon. The thing that drew more blood than the chiggers AND the Taboo game was my dad. Quizzing everyone about Syria, Trayvon Martin and Obamacare. He was hydrating for a good interrogation.
Kindly ignore my Urkel shorts. They hiked up while I debated tax hikes with CardbObama.
Kindly ignore my Urkel shorts. They hiked up while I debated tax hikes with CardbObama.
He protects me from the trombiculidae.
He’s just protecting me from the trombiculidae.


1 thought on “Chiggers in Paradise”

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