Life in Spain: haircut

22 November, 2011

Living in another country is very, very different to simply going abroad on holiday. On the surface, it might seem similar – for me, at least, life in Spain occasionally does involve a fair amount of sun, sea and sangria – but in time, you realize that you actually have to build a life; you have to find a house, buy food, cope with problems… Even if it’s not your first time living away from home, you suddenly have to deal with all of these things in a foreign language, and that makes them a hundred times scarier.

I had an interesting time finding a flat when I first arrived here. I had never actively gone house-hunting myself before; in the past, I had just relied on my more proactive friends. Flat-hunting in Spanish, however, was a whole different kettle of fish. After a number of confused phone calls, night-time trips down alleys and making myself a vocab list of words like “deposit”, I finally found a group of students that seemed lovely over email. The only issue, however, was that when I went to look around the flat, I discovered that the landlord only spoke Basque. Thankfully my soon-to-be flatmates more or less understood him, but literally all I could do as he explained the house and contract to us was smile, and nod every time somone said “bai” (meaning “yes”) or a number.

Luckily, everything turned out fine with that flat, and I am very happy there now. Today, I am going to get my hair cut for the first time in Spain, and I am hoping that that will be similarly successful. Most women probably get nervous when contemplating a major change to their hairstyle; today I am particularly nervous because a) this is my first major cut since “The Era of Bad Hair”, when I spent a year and a half growing out a pixie cut that really didn’t suit me and b) I’m going to have to deal with it all in Spanish. Whilst I am a lot more linguistically confident now than I was two months ago when I was flat-hunting, there was no unit at university on “getting one’s hair cut”. There is no Spanish for “bob”, I now know that “fringe” is “flequillo” but keep forgetting that “mechas” means “highlights”. Hopefully I will be able to distinguish it at the moment of truth from “macha”, meaning “butch woman”!

Wish me luck!

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