Getting a haircut:
First I got ready. Sounds easy enough? Before I go out I double check my outfit and make sure it's modest and that picking up one of my kids or bending down or any other move that I frequently do will not make me appear immodest. I go over the phrases in arabic I might need to use. In this case, I practiced the area of town I needed to ask for when I got a taxi, how to tell the hairdresser what I wanted, and random small talk questions I could ask her while I got my haircut. I get my money organized. Coins for the taxi in one place, a small amount I expected to pay for the haircut, and a larger amount hidden. (It's never good for an expat to just open up a wallet full of dough…not that I ever have very much.)
Then I catch a taxi. I walked down our dirt road and made a few turns before getting to the side road that is paved. I cover my little one's head with a small blanket to protect her from the sand/dust flying everywhere. I walk quickly with my head straight forward past the men doing construction. The older lady passing towards me greets me and stops me to admire my little offspring. We chat for a few minutes then move on. As I go past the little "restaurant" we sometimes go to I walk really fast and look behind me for a taxi. This sweet lady will chase me down and drag me in and feed me something. While it's nice, I needed to get a haircut and it gets old when it's every. single. time. There is a group of men standing on my side of the road so I cross over to the opposite side so as to not have to walk directly in front of them. It's tiresome having to be so aware of everything/everyone around me. I keep walking and get to the actual main road. No need for Julian videos, I just put in over 1/2 a mile carrying a kid. I see a taxi at the light! Wahoo! I run across traffic and yell at him to see if he's working. He is and unlocks the door while the light is still red. Then we play what I call the repeat game. I say where I want to go, he repeats it. I say yes and say again where I want to go. He shakes his head in understanding repeats it again and looks at me. I just say yes again. He turns on his meter and we go.
The haircut. I talk to the women and with help from a friend tell her what I want. She spends a good amount of time chastising me for not having my baby more wrapped up, it's too cold to have a baby out. (I have her in 2 shirts, pants, socks, hat and wrapped around me in a carrier and it's 70 degrees, she and I are both sweating). The other moms I've seen out have their baby in a snow suit so I guess comparatively my baby is "cold". The haircut and socialization takes about 2 hours. And by socialization, I mean me trying to speak arabic and making a fool of myself. I know that I am because they laugh after every thing I say.
Repeat catching a taxi home.
In the end I had a lot of fun, got a decent haircut and made some new friends. Totally worth the drama of getting ready and catching a taxi.
Buying a desk:
Repeat the above getting ready and catching a taxi. Except this time I had my 5 year old who yells for and hails the taxis for me. She's awesome at it.
We get to the store that has the desk I want…..it's closed….on a Saturday afternoon….of course it is. So I have the taxi drive a little farther to this little pottery stand I've noticed and been wanting to go to. We get out and look around the little stand. They have some pretty things for really cheap. I get a couple cool items for my kitchen and we start walking back to catch a taxi. There are none to be found so we keep walking and stopping in little stands as we please. I found a place to get copies and fabric. We kept on walking. Little 5 year old legs were getting tired and my arms were numb from the very beautiful but definitely heavy pottery I'd just purchased. So we have a seat on the side of the road and take a break. Some girls walk by us and look scared. It's easy to identify those who have never seen a white person up close and personal before. Sometimes I like to try to talk to them in arabic just to freak them out more. I have to have a little fun :)
After a few minutes of not getting a taxi we start walking again. We stop in a "school supply shop" and I buy some practice books for writing arabic. The kindergarten books were too difficult and I had to ask for the preschool kind. She thought they were for my kids…..sure they are. We start walking again and have put in about 2 miles by this point and are only 3/4 mile or so from home. Finally a taxi comes our way!! YAY! My 5 year old successfully catches it and we practically fall inside we are so tired.
We get home after being gone a couple hours and my man says, "Wow, you've been gone a while I guess it was a success?" Um by success do you mean I bought some pottery, found a place to get copies and fabric and bought a book to practice language and got in a work out?? Yes it was a success. Did I buy a desk? No.
That is a small glimpse into my day to day life. I hope you enjoyed it :)