Getting my haircut is something I love to do. I go in, get pampered for an hour or so, and leave with a fresh new hairstyle. It is my quiet, selfish, me time. Okay, I know it is necessary, but I call it me time. One of the last things I did in the U.S. before we moved was get my haircut. I had put a lot of thought into that last appointment, because I wanted to make sure that whatever I had my beloved stylist do would be able to last until I got up the courage to get my hair done in Berlin. Things like that in my second language just seem bigger than they probably really are, but true to my nature I was planning that far ahead.
Fast forward to this month, after eleven months in my new city I finally went and got my haircut last week. I just could not put it off any longer. I had listened to scary stories of expats getting their hair done so I did my research on respectable looking salons near us. But in the end, after three months of seeing the task “Haircut” on my to-do list, I marched across the street on my way home from school and made myself an appointment for a wash and cut. It is much easier for me to make appointments in person than over the phone, I find I am more patient in person and so whoever I am talking to.
On the day of my appointment I was so nervous. Would I be able to explain what I wanted? Would they understand me? Would they talk do me during my hair cut? (Please say no!!) Would I like it? (Please say yes!!)
So what was different here versus the salons back home? First, I was offered a dry cut. I couldn’t even try it, not for my first haircut abroad, maybe next time if I’m feeling adventurous. Second, sink to wash my hair was portable, the just stylist wheeled it over to my chair and washed my hair right there. I didn’t see how that worked because I already had my glasses off, but that is what happened. I have seen these at many salons I have walked past here so I know it wasn’t location specific.
The two hardest points were when she asked if I wanted layers in my hair, I said yes but as soon as she started cutting them in I had an inward panic attack because- I don’t actually like my hair layered! What was I thinking! Oh, the delayed responses I have during conversations in my second language. The other challenge was the conversation in general. I was really hoping that once she heard my poor German she would have just cut my hair, but no we had a conversation which was probably better and less awkward, maybe. We talked about politics in Germany and the U.S., we talked about health insurance, about why did I move here, and about her vacation destination this summer. I don’t talk politics- like ever, no matter the country or language. I don’t like them, I just avoid thinking about them, reading about them, talking about them- all of it. Clearly I need to educate myself a little before the next haircut, or choose another salon that hopefully won’t talk to me about politics.
In the end it was better than I expected. I would totally visit her again, after I read an up to date newspaper of course.
With one visit under my belt the next one should be relatively easy…. maybe.