Romanian Living Blog
An expats working, socialising and living blog of thoughts and adventures delved within Bucharest and further afield in this alluring yet often baffling country.
RLB 4: Haircut Fears and Technical Difficulties
Time period 26th September – 2nd October
Monday morning, a gentle flame is swiped across my face, wrapped in black and sat stiffly in a movable chair, the echoes of music TV as well as my heart beating are what my mind hears.
The reality of this strange situation was fearful at the time because of the uncertainty of what was occurring, the location may not seem so alarming or the situation even that unappealing to most but for me getting a haircut is an inconvenient, cumbersome and uncomfortable undertaking.
It would be misleading of me to say I have not been to a barbers before, except for the added element of fire getting my haircut is not a new phenomenon.
A rewind is in order then to better understand why fire was apparent this time around but firstly it’s necessary to go back to my England days to make clearer why I find getting a haircut to be a hassle.
Okay in the grand scheme of things having your hair snipped is certainly not worse than a trip to hospital or the dentist, the inconvenience for myself lies within the whole haircut process.
To begin with I would state that most people are aware when they need a new look up top, once the realization sinks in the planning begins. Sure it would be easy to just pop into a barbers similar to popping into a local shop but there is a little more to it, definitely for me and many others who have had this experience.
There is the time element, in England certain shops may be open 24 hours but the barbers are not, this then means having to schedule a day where you are free with enough time to head to an establishment, where the location of the establishment is also plays a part. Ensuring you also have clean or product free hair is another consideration to lull over before embarking on the haircut journey.
Travel, clean hair and waiting once arrival at your preferred barbers adds minutes onto the haircut exploit, subsequently an hour could have passed before you even see the fabled barber’s chair.
It is often noted how women have a favourite hairdresser or company they choose to put their business with but there is an unspoken truth that men also have these same preferences, for some then more waiting for your preferred barber is a possibility.
Once in the chair limitation becomes the new irritation, unable to move my hands or body the ability to be productive whilst sat there is an issue, the opportunity to read or work is taken away by a barbers blanket, often the sheet covering you is filled with comical or whimsical images which gives the brain a slight chuckle with nothing much else going on.
With the body covered then and the head free one vital body part is left, the mouth, and from the mouth comes the often awkward small talk. The usual questions are thrown around regardless of the barber or location it seems, questions such as “Day off from work today?”, or “Did you the see the match? What do you think about bla bla incident?”
Sometimes this small talk is not even directed at you the person in the chair but at a regular who has come in through the door, a telephone call or a colleague.
Once the barber has completed his work the joy of escaping is halted by paying, one last annoyance to occur before leaving.
Fast forwarding to Romania how does the experience compare, well those same hassles that afflicted me in England are still present, except for the awkward small talk which is replaced with silence and usually a TV or radio airing music. The price is a lot cheaper though which is a nice bonus but the language barrier exists.
Thus far I have not discovered an English speaking barber but explanation of how I want it cut ensues through some of my broken Romanian and hand gestures. So far the experience has been good overall, however I remember the 1st time I needed a haircut upon arrival last year in Bucharest.
About a month into my Romanian adventures the realisation I needed a haircut was apparent to me, it took me another month plus before I stepped inside a barbers. Near to where I was living at the time there was a barbers I walked by most days, often I planned to go in but carried on walking. There was an irrational fear that it was all going to go horribly wrong for some reason. Eventually I couldn’t escape my fears any more, I stepped in, sat down and a great haircut was given.
Nearly a year on the experience of getting a haircut is easier but still troublesome for me; this Monday then a haircut was given but in a new location to where I had been going previously. The usual had occurred, I went anxiously, sat down, explained somehow how I wanted my hair to be cut and the barber began and finished the haircut routine once more.
Well I thought he had finished but one last surprise was to occur, the barber grabbed a metal item possibly the length of 2 pens and proceeded to light it. He then held my head very still as the flames licked my skin, I felt a surge of heat across my face, my heart beating heavier with butterflies entrenching my stomach as this happens. Thankfully I am not harmed, what the purpose of this is I still have no idea, asking my colleagues regarding the incident they also have no idea as to why this took place, though they are female so it makes sense they have never heard of such an event.
Away from the excitement of getting a haircut another such burdensome task took place, actually it takes place most weeks. The joy of teaching can be overshadowed by the boredom or frustrations of lesson planning, I shan’t go into huge detail but it is a time consuming and for me an irksome task to carry out. However I understand it is a vital and necessary part of the teaching process, planning is part of the package deal of being a teacher.
When I am teaching I am much more in my element building rapport, making jokes and implementing what the lessons aims are, getting to this point though requires planning.
Planning makes you prepared and gives you the understanding to teach better, on the other hand there are circumstances or occurrences that lesson planning can’t always predict.
The frustrations of technical difficulties hit me 3 or 4 times this week; computer speakers not working, computers restarting or updating themselves, programmes not loading, and videos buffering all added to my technical dramas.
The most frustrating thing about a technical problem is how powerless you are in this situation, you are unable to continue or are halted by something that is supposed to aid the teaching experience. Sometimes it is better to play it safe when teaching and use a reliable friend such as a whiteboard marker or paper.