Well, I know you are anxiously awaiting the many posts I promised and I will indeed deliver. BUT first… I just have to share the one about the hair because it is too good to pass up.
As of Christmas, I had not cut my hair since we left the States in late August. I have two wonderful women who have cut my hair over the last 13 years in OK and CO. Charlene, who my husband tracked down in OKC, is the co-owner of Village Headquarters. By the time we met her she had already been cutting hair 20+ years. Needless to say she is a pro. In all the years she cut my hair, she never once hesitated –ever. And I ALWAYS walked away with a great cut or color. Deb in Colorado Springs has been cutting my mom’s hair for a few years and now, THANKFULLY, she squeezes me in whenever I come to town. She cuts my hair dry, which is a whole new experience, but again, I have always walked away happy. 🙂
So now we come to Albania…. and quickly you will see the dilemma in which I found myself. These two women (Charlene and Deb) cut and color in a week at least 3 TIMES the number of people the average salon might see here in a month. The sheer volume of hair that travels through a US Salon compared to an Albanian salon is just unthinkable. So there is a level of expertise… well, let’s get on with the story.
I FINALLY broke down and went on New Year’s Eve day to the salon in the apartment building down the street from me. I took my neighbor Denisa, who is 16, with me. She speaks great English and could help me with any words I was unsure of in the explanation process of what I wanted. I was terrified. I have heard more than one horror story from foreigners who went to an Albanian salon and walked away with their hair chopped butchered. I hoped I had waited until my hair was SO long that I would not be upset if it was cut shorter than I asked for.
I asked to have highlights and a long layered cut. My hair had grown way past my shoulders and I wanted it to touch my shoulders with a few long layers that would give me some bounce. She began with the color. So a few foils later I am getting a little concerned. There is not quite the level of precision. The foils are not all the way to my scalp…hmmm. I hang on and hope.
It was like a scene out of Steel Magnolias. You know the one where the women gather in the salon to tell all the latest gossip about everyone around town. The discussion centered on the woman who lived in the house where Denisa’s family now lives, and how she was much uglier than Denisa’ mother. Yikes! What will be said about me next week?
So my color is finally done and I am thinking it looks pretty good. She begins to cut. Over all I am pretty pleased. She seems to have a good system and technique although it seems to take forever. I have been here now for about 2 hours. Now she is going to blow my hair dry and style it. This is a 30 minute process. She takes each strand of hair and pulls it straight with the dryer and brush. After about 20 minutes of this there seems to be a short in the chord of the blow dryer. She shakes the dryer a bit and the chord sparks and then flickers. It is on fire! She drops the dryer and the circuit for the whole store blows and we are in the dark. And you never know in Albania we might have blown the circuit for the whole apartment building. Sheesh… After 15 minutes of chaos, Denisa finally suggests that her father has some experience with electricity and maybe he can help. He comes and FLIPS THE BREAKER (sigh) and we finally have lights back.
So my hair is done and now that I can see, there is indeed a final product with a few mishaps. I have a LINE in my hair from the color bleeding out of the foils. And no, it does blend it as it is HORIZONTAL (the picture does not do it justice), although later I was able to part my hair a little differently and cover it up. You can also see that the color does not come all the way to my roots. Is that to get me to come back sooner?!! She goes around my now dry hair and cleans up the stray hairs that are sticking out from my choppy layers (a little blending was needed…) and never mentions the line. Alas, I am finished. I pay my 1900 lek (about $20) and leave.
We stop at my neighbors house so Denisa’s mom can see the results. Her dad (the one who fixed the electricity) says I look like a zebra.
Yikes. Need I say more?