Fearing what we had heard was going to be an expensive and elaborate affair, we postponed getting our hair cut for as long as we could stand it. Gabriella even entertained the idea of not getting her hair cut at all while we were here and instead returning to Seattle looking like Rapunzel. But then that would have meant missing another opportunity for adventure! So off we went - Gabriella to a relatively low-budget parrucchiere (hairdresser) across the street from our school, and Henry to a barbiere (barber) just down the street from our apartment.
|Guess who went to which place!|
We were trepidatious about going not only for fear of what we would look like afterwards, but also for how we would manage the roughly half hour of sitting in the chair trying to make some kind of conversation with the person who was cutting our hair.
Gabriella’s experience was exactly as Monica, our ever reliable Italian teacher, had predicted. The hairdressers persistently offered various hair products and services (each of which would have added significantly to the cost); were eager to offer a fancier and shorter cut than what she wanted; and seemed determined to blow dry (fry!) her hair in an attempt to make it as straight and rigid as rebar. An entourage of three women tended to her using pictures from magazines to clarify unfamiliar hairdressing vocabulary (Gabriella doesn’t even know some of these words in English, let alone Italian!). Despite the moments of anxiety and bewilderment, by the end of it all Gabriella was almost looking forward to going back again.
Henry had no intention of going to a fancy hair place, so when he noticed the barbershop down the street, he was very happy. Every time he thought about going in the shop, though, it was either closed or the barber was engrossed in conversation with other elderly men from the neighborhood. He was too intimidated to go in with other people there. Finally one morning, when Henry looked in the window, he found the barber was alone. At last his chance has arrived! It turned out to be a great experience and one of the best haircuts he’s ever had! When he told the barber he was American, the barber asked if he knew this other American who had been in his shop a year or so ago – as if the US were a small town like Arezzo.
Getting our hair cut turned into a perfect metaphor for our time here. Whenever we feel fearful or timid about trying something new, if we just make ourselves do it, generally we are rewarded with an unforgettable, enlightening, enriching experience… or at least a good story. On to the next experience!