Snip Snip Hooray

By Robin, Cultural Embrace Teach in China program

Today I received my first ever Chinese haircut. It costs a whopping $2.50. So already, no matter how it goes, I can’t complain because what else did I expect from such a cheap cut? Jeff and I decided to meet Van and Luan at the haircutting place. First it began with a shampoo with lukewarm water and a lot of weird head scratching, as Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” played in the background (at least 5 times in a row). Apparently in China, they do not believe in conditioner, because after I was done with the shampoo and rinse, I was brought to a table in front of a mirror, with my hair wrapped in the equivalent of a hand towel. I figured out that I would have to wait while Jeff got his buzz cut. Rather than have a Chinese man try and comb out the rat nest that was my hair, I grabbed a comb and got to work. It took me probably 15 minutes to get it all combed out, so my hair was half air-dried and all kinds of frizzy. So the guy comes over and grunts or something and I figure out that it is my turn. The whole form of communication involved me showing with my fingers how much I wanted him to cut off. He worked his way around my head with the scissors a few times, and then acted like he was going to flip my hair out. I was thinking don’t bother, I need to go home and work out and shower anyways, but it was much to hard to convey all of this so I just let him try to style my hair after the cut. I should have skipped out, because for the next 15 minutes he proceeded to rip my hair out with the round brush he was using to blow out my hair. But the worst part was, my hair was so out of control to begin with because it had air dried, that I knew that he was going to spend 15 minutes trying to fix something that really was a lost cause.

This story seemed more interesting in my head. So after staring at myself in the mirror for an hour, (which made me realize that I should always put on full makeup when I go get a haircut), I left with no split ends, and only out 15 kuai. Good deal, no matter how much hair he pulled out.

Now I am home trying to figure out grades. I can’t decide if I am a bad teacher and didn’t help my students succeed, or if they are too dumb to remember to turn in their essays so therefore they shouldn’t pass. Whatever. I suppose I’m not doing them any favors by passing them when they don’t know the language. Why wasn’t there a class on how to manage a grade book in college?

One week until Malaysia. Can’t wait.

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Flashback to our Fall API student's first days in Spain. Madrid orientation with our friends from api_granada, Salamanca guided tour, and lunch tapas (+first days of classes!)

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