I have high maintenance hair. I'm not afraid to admit it. I was voted 'Best Hair' in Mrs. Stewarts' 5th grade class and I am still proud of that! I'm also not afraid to admit that one of my very first thoughts about moving to Germany was: "Who will take care of my hair now?!"
When Isabelle was just a toddler I had a disastrous experience with an at-home box color....I'll save you the details because it's a really long story, but I very literally fried parts of my hair off. It took a professional many, many, many hours over a period of months to repair the severe damage I had caused. She lovingly brought my hair back from the dead, but not without bunches of deep breaths and forearm swipes across beads of sweat on her brow. I haven't touched my hair since, and I never will. This is why, when I meet a stylist that I like, I have a very hard time letting go. It is also why I put a lot of money into the hair products I use. So to tell y'all that I was nervous to make an appointment for a cut & color in a foreign country is putting it kindly.
I was dreading it.
I was losing sleep over it.
But when my hair got too long and too heavy to put in a messy bun anymore, it was time to make an appointment. Whether I was ready or not.
I went to a German hair stylist for the first time this weekend. The gals I work with directed me to a salon owned by a British lady who has been in Germany for more than 20 years. They speak fluent English and take VAT forms (Value Added Tax forms take Germany's 19% tax off whatever it is us military/military dependents are buying. Not all stores will accept them, and since we have to buy the forms, they're only worth it when spending over a certain amount of Euro).
The lady that did my hair was amazing! I knew right away that I liked her and trusted her. I wanted to go a little darker for fall & winter so she opted for "caramel blonde" highlights. She seemed to know exactly what she was talking about, so I started to relax. I wanted to cut 4-5 inches off but not go anywhere near my shoulders. She said that going near the shoulders is too difficult a length and "flips easily" so she understood what I wanted. But she also talked about more personal things that had nothing to do with hair and I related to her very much! I really started to relax after that.
I'm at the "new" point right now where I'm still trying to figure out how to style it with 4 less inches to deal with, but these crummy iPhone pictures taken suuuper early in the morning before work gives you an idea.
The most valuable advice, validation, and encouragement I have gotten has come from other military families that have been stationed over here for a little while. With their advice I am getting more comfortable, braver, and less self-conscious about being a foreigner. And now, I've got all my bases covered: a) a great gal to do my nails, b) a hair salon that I really loved, c) trendy clothing stores minutes from my apartment, d) and friends to help me navigate all of Germany's little quirks.