So, tomorrow is my birthday. Jeff is taking the day off to make sure I feel special– what a nice guy! But I’ll also be celebrating a couple other noteworthy things, in addition to my 33rd anniversary of life in this world. In particular, I’ll be marking the occasion of my last haircut– one year ago! I will also be inducting myself into the Low-Maintenance Ladies Society, since in the last year I have not: had a haircut, bought makeup, had my nails done, enjoyed a massage, or gotten any other sort of self-care treatments I used to splurge for now and then in my American life. I also get extra points for trimming my own bangs and the serious dedication required in order to acquire a natural tan in England. So, hurray!
|On the last day of 32. I’ve been putting my hair up every day for months, kicking myself for not getting it cut yet.|
Actually, this feat of self-denial has very little to do with discipline or frugality. Mostly, I’m kind of a big baby about the little things. It’s strange to me, because I think I’m pretty brave about the big stuff– I’m not a fearful person, at all. I don’t know why, but for some reason getting my hair cut in a new country, scheduling a massage, etc., just feels really intimidating. And exhausting. I know it’s completely crazy, since there’s not even a language barrier involved. The language thing was my excuse for not doing any of these basic things in Germany– I was afraid of a serious miscommunication when I was talking to my hairstylist, that I would end up with something really different from what I wanted. But here?! It just doesn’t make sense. When we went back to the States for just five months, I got my hair cut twice. The first time, it was because it had been so long since my last cut, living in Germany. The second one was because a.) the first one wasn’t that great, and b.) I was leaving the country again. But there is no reason why I should trust a random stylist in a salon in Portland over a random stylist in a salon here in Bury (or in Cambridge!)
I’ve wondered about this. I have a long list of “normal” activities that somehow just seem so daunting, now that I’m not in my own country. I wonder about tipping. I wonder if there’s some kind of information I should have, that I’m missing. I felt seriously nervous before my first pottery class, and the same with taking a yoga class. It took me a few weeks to try driving here. I feel a little overwhelmed when I think about getting a job here, even though I really, really want one. School events seem more taxing than usual, just because I don’t feel sure of the norms surrounding the occasion. I wonder if I’m doing it right. I wonder if someone is noticing something a little off about my methods. I worry about the fact that, when I’m talking to the English people around me, I don’t mince words like they do. Am I being rude, somehow? Will I offend? These are all things that I experienced to a degree in the US, since I often felt like a foreigner there, as well (see my first post on culture shock.) But I definitely enjoyed the sense that I knew what was going on there at least for the last decade. Here it is, all over again. And I wish I could just spend the day tomorrow in the States, getting my hair cut, buying a little makeup and maybe getting a massage. (Oh! And I would eat!)
But I made an appointment for a hair cut here in Bury tomorrow– it’s time!
Are there things that seem (or seemed) irrationally daunting for you in a new setting? How do/ did you approach them?