A Double Story!

Since I’m almost two weeks behind on posting anything, this week, I’ll offer you a double story: my haircut and a meetup.

Let’s take things one a time.

I’ve known for a while now that I’ve needed a haircut. My last haircut was in June at what my mom would call an “el cheap-o” place that did a sort of uneven, sort of el cheap-o job. It was sufficient at the time to cut off a few bad hairz, but more work needed to be done. My last other haircut was in December, but my last “fancy” haircut, where they sit down and take their time with you and fondle your golden russet strands was probably two years ago. If that back story put you to sleep, smack a cheek and let’s get rolling with the present. SO…

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These are the “before” shots…idea courtesy of A.

Photo on 8-27-15 at 5.15 PM #2

On my way home from the BNC, I usually pass this one hair salon that looks pretty cute. It was closed for vacations in August, so I checked out a place in Gràcia…that ended up being slightly too cool for me. En fin, after two days of walking by, somewhat voyeuristically peering in to watch the haircutter dude, I decided he looked legit and I made an appointment–“Sin prisa,” I said, but he was ready the next day. So I took my lopsided mop to him and told him “tres dedos-ish,” something like these photos, but really “lo que tú veas” (whatever you see fit). When I go to what I expect to be a good hair person, I like to give them free reign, to some extent.

He did not disappoint. One of my biggest pet peeves is people rushing and cutting, but this guy was indeed so meticulous I wondered if I’d ever get out of the chair. He was friendly, but but not super chatty. More importantly, he knew what he was doing. The pictures may not exactly do it justice, but he managed to lighten up my hairs, without giving me the chunky layers I often end up with (and in turn, often end  up poofing out horizontally in a splendid show of rebel volume.)

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Poof Level: 0.01

Photo on 8-27-15 at 7.51 PM #3

More than “tres dedos” cut off, but okay wif me!

Also: I played a terrible prank on D. during this process. I sent him a text that said “Well, it looks nothing like the picture. Tell you more in a bit.” Then I sent him THE WORST (really-this was a  face not even my mom could love-she was basically like “I’m sorry you even sent him that”) picture of me with fake short hair (my old ponytail, flipped in front to make it look like I had Peter Pan bangs.) As soon as I saw he’d seen it, and his response, “Wow. Beautiful.” I said “Don’t lie to me. It’s a joke!” and I sent him the real picture…and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief. I could also barely contain myself. I’ve tried light pranks with my students before (like fake pop quizzes), and I last about 30-seconds because I just can’t handle the fact that I may be causing undue anxiety for anyone. So, D., you are the face of a good sport (or a good fibber).

That was story one. If you need a water break, this is your moment.

Story two:

This week my academic progress has been fair (hoping to finish book five today), so let’s skip to social progress. I made it to two pilates classes at the beginning of the week, which left me ridiculously sore. Thursday night I joined the roomies for a cervesa, and then…I checked the MeetUp boards. Twenty-first century friend making on MeetUp is really something to behold. You go online, type in your interests, scroll through a menu of quite nice options, and click to say “I’m attending” and then that’s it. You show up, and other like-minded people will be there waiting to hang out with you. For someone starting with low- to no-social network, it is an amazing, if also slightly uncanny, way to meet “friends” (for the short- or long-term).

After some degree of waffling, I clicked on a hiking excursion for the weekend in Montseny Natural Park. It’s no secret that BCN in the summer can be stuffy at best, stifling at worse. And while it is an exceptionally “liveable” city, after a few weeks around the huge parks and nice lakes of Berlin, one begins to think that maybe a little more nature here and there would be a good thing. Plus, I think it is valuable to see what is beyond the city limit. D. encouraged me to give it a try, and seeing that only two spots were left on the “senderismo acuático” adventure encouraged me even more. So, I clicked to attend and waited for the next morning.

We met up in Plaça Catalunya, where it was unexpectedly easy to find a small group of people waiting to go water hiking. At 8:45-ish in the morning, there is still not a ton of movement in the city. I got to ride in a peppy and spacious Hyundai (my worst fear was being in the back seat of a two-door car, claustrophobic as an elephant in a matchbox). Around an hour later, we were at the mountains! We stopped (of course) for a quick coffee, paid the 16€ + 5€ for gas for the trip, and we were off.

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My Keens finally got to do what they were made for as we walked off the trail and into the creek. I tried to ask one of the catalanes how you say creek in Catalan, but she just said “riu”-river. It would be a bit of an exaggeration to call this a river.

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Stream, creek, running water…(all still not in the RIVER family).

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Upon seeing this picture, my friend A. said “Of course you would go hiking in a dress [smiley emoji],” but the truth is, getting clothes on and off in one piece (and being able to change underneath) makes a dress scarily practical for these kind of events. At one point, the guide J. told me to go walk through the deep end of the creek to see if we could pass through (or we’d have to walk outside the creek and around) because I was one of the taller ones. With one hand, I was able to take off the dress and stuff it in my backpack to wander through chest-deep water. It was my moment of greatest agility. Let’s just say my knees kissed the rocks a few times later.

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Heading in to some of the “deeper” (4-5 ft) water.

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General billygoating.

After an hour or two of meandering through the crispy cool spring water, a few swimming stops, and a break or two to catch some rays, we made it to a little field to have lunch. People didn’t really sit together, which I found funny. Everyone spread out and took their time, a few even catching a quick siesta before our trip back down.

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One of my favorite swimming stops (the main one).

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Exhibit A: Swimming.

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Walking beside the water on the way to our lunch stop.

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The sweetest little farm house we passed on the way there.

On the way back, most people had reached their saturation level (sorry. couldn’t avoid it) with wet feet, so we tried to walk a little more on the side of the creek instead of in it. I’d say we cruised on the way back! Finishing the day well, we stopped at the café where we had started and we had a beer (the German girl and me) or a coffee/tea (the rest! but for real-it was definitely more a beer moment than a tea moment…and I love tea!) Making our way back to Barcelona, it was clear the trip had been a success for everyone. And while I’m not sure I’ll be super-buds with anyone on the trip, it was a fantastic way to spend a day outside of BCN and with new people. I’d happily do it again!         IMG_4711

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