In anticipation of entering the unknown environment of Peace Corps, I began growing out my hair over the last year. My last trim occurred in late August; therefore finding split ends became one of my favorite past times over the last few weeks.
On Saturday, my host mom was going to the hair salon to lighten up her dark hair with some highlights and an overall blonder hair color and wondered if I wanted to get my hair cut. Sure, why not! I could stand a little trim with a lady my host mom trusts and it was only going to cost me about $3!
Sitting in a slightly warm concrete room in a plastic chair, I let the lady know that I just wanted a trim. I was then informed by my host mom that she is fact a hair expert and would I like to have her do the good work she usually does? I basically must give my permission for her to be the ‘expert’ since it would be disrespectful to say no. I look in the mirror, she’s got about 2 inches she’s about to cut off. Fine. Let those split ends go! During this moment, I am also celebrating the fact that I understand the conversation that has been entirely in Azerbaijani!
Within minutes, I’m watching 6-9 inches of hair fly off my head, seeing long bangs come into my present life and realizing shorter than shoulder length means a ponytail is no longer in my near future.
I give her credit, the cut looks good and I’m getting a lot of compliments HOWEVER, this does not change the fact that showering only occurs once a week in our household, and managing a haircut like this may be difficult. After the initial adjustment to less showering, I have found that days 1-4 are not that bad and my hair looks pretty normal, even light. For those of you back home, this is what you remember. From days 5-7, things get pretty rough and this is typically when people ask if I’ve dyed my hair and the ponytail had been an essential part of my look to keep things in order. Today is day 5.
Not knowing if this is a compliment or not, my host brother said I look more like an American now. He says I’m beautiful and likes to kiss me on the cheek. He’s 13.
In an environment where I am constantly learning and don’t feel especially good at anything, I seek solace in knowing that I am really skilled at growing my hair.
In the meantime, Wednesday is shower night!
(Written on January 17th. First photo taken on Joey's birthday - the love bunny will be explained at another time, the second photo taken in the internet cafe on January 18th... day 6)