College Chat: Jamaica Wins

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Ellen Ring
Ellen Ring Photo Credit: Contributed

I recently took part in that rite of passage known as Spring Break. Though the trip was beautiful and fun for most of us, the interesting story belongs to my friend Kat, and she has given me the authority to tell it.

The real drama began once the harsh sun hit us and we began the laborious task of applying sunscreen. “Make sure you get all the tricky spots,” Kat told us, “Like in between your toes and the tops of your ears.” After a little teasing about her motherly nature, we were indeed extra vigilant about our sunscreen application. We arranged our lounge chairs at the edge of the surf and basked in the rays feeling safe from their damaging effects. All was well.

Then we got back to the rooms. Kat shrieked with horror when she looked at herself in the mirror. Her ears, face, extremities, and between her toes were a golden brown, but her entire chest and stomach were bright red. In her noble attempt to beat the sun’s sneaky attacks, Kat had indeed put sunscreen on her ears and between her toes, but found herself the recipient of a ferocious sunburn on her chest and on her stomach in the shape of six-pack abs. How she managed to get the peculiar shape for her sunburn, no one knows. Jamaica: 1; Kat:0.

Though it had not faded in color, Kat’s sunburn debacle slowly faded into the background of our trip memories. The next day at breakfast, I was talking to Kat and trying very hard not to react to the alternating squeaks and rumbles that constituted her voice, but it was pretty quickly acknowledged and the whole group lost it again. Jamaica: 2; Kat: 0.

Shortly after, we went on an afternoon excursion to Rick’s Café, a popular site for live music, a lively bar scene, and most notably—cliff diving. Tourists that visit Ricks are only allowed to jump off the venue’s smallest cliffs, measuring in at 10 and 35 feet from the choppy water below. After I did a graceful yet lanky pencil dive off the smaller cliff, some of my friends joined, but three of my companions decided that they were brave enough to take the bigger leap. As I’m sure you’ve figured out, Kat was among those three who decided to take the plunge. Furthermore, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, it did not go so well.

I am pleased to announce that Kat is alive and fully functional. She started off with a great running leap, followed by the mandatory chest grab, and into what had potential to be a flawless pencil dive. However, right before she hit the water, Kat seemed to lose all control of her body and her natural instincts took over—she sat down in midair and hit the water directly on her posterior. I am still unsure as to why that was her choice move in this particular time of panic. Kat could now add a stiff neck and the most insanely bruised thigh I’ve ever seen to her growing list of injuries. Jamaica: 3; Kat: 0.

We gave Kat some anti-inflammatory medicine and congratulations for inventing a new shade of purple and she continued to be a trooper, letting us enjoy the rest of our vacation while trying to do the same.

There was a big party coming up at Margaritaville, a local party spot down the beach and Kat was excited for the night, rocking a flowy shirt that didn’t aggravate her raging sunburn and a denim skirt that only showed a peek of blue and purple bruising below the seam. We arrived at the Jimmy Buffett’s Mecca and went straight upstairs to a level that had a ceiling of stars whose twin images reflected in the ocean below. The fun didn’t stop until we were about to go home and we realized that everyone’s purses were wide open. Kat arrived home sans iPhone, license and debit card, a woman almost defeated. There was nothing to say but… Jamaica: 4; Kat: 0.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Kat had an almost terrible time. Her only saving grace was her company of choice. I know what I learned from her misfortunes—the best trip insurance is taking a trip with great companions. If you like who you’re with, it’s money well spent! 

Ellen Ring is a Yorktown native finishing her senior year at Villanova University, where she is pursuing degrees in English, Chinese and writing and rhetoric. She is looking forward to teaching secondary biology in Washington D.C. next year with Teach For America. 

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