Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Day in a Chinese Beauty Salon

Getting a Perm

So with the humidity here in Shenzhen, China, I have found that my hair is not sure whether it wants to be curly or straight (mostly I have decided that it wants to be flat and ugly). Anyway for this reason I decided to get a perm--a strait perm (not a curly one). So I went to a salon near our house. I was told that it would take about 2 hours. I brought Eve in her stroller so that she could sleep in it while I got my perm. No need really, because I walked in, said what I wanted and Eve was whisked away by several girls who wanted to take care of her for me (the stroller sat idle the rest of the time). Very sweet.

Anyway, they started doing my hair and asked if I had eaten lunch. I at not (it was about noon). So the boy doing my hair called a restaurant nearby and had some rice and tofu stuff brought to me. I wanted to pay for it but the boy doing my hair said no, it was his treat. What?! I come here to pay him to do my hair and he treats me to lunch!? However, there was no arguing with him. A little later one of the girls brought me an ice cream cone. Keep in mind, these people probably only make between 1 and 2 dollars an hour, but they are very generous with what theyhave.

So Eve was great. She slept in one of the girl's arms for about 2 hours. Then she woke up and I need to feed her. They said I should feed her upstairs so I would have more privacy. I was lead upstairs to a small private room by the sweet girl who had given me the ice cream cone. I settled down to feed Eve when I noticed the girl was not leaving. She sat down across from me to chat while I fed the baby. "Fine, " I thought, "I suppose if it doesn't bother her, then I should not let it bother me." So I started to feed the baby. Soon another girls joined us. I didn't mind, but I did find it funny that I was brought upstairs for privacy only to have two companions watch me nurse the baby. :)

Eve happens to be a very spitty baby. It's a genetic thing. most of my mother's babies were spitters and several of my nieces and nephews have been as well. Anyway, i was informed by one of my companions that I should not rock back and forth while I fed the baby because that is not what makes her spit-up. I think she just made that upon the spot. Anyway, I decided to log it away with all the other pieces of unsolicited and unfounded advice I receive constantly from my Chinese associates here. Chinese people LOVE to give advice. I'm surprised how may complete strangers feel it their duty to tell us what we are doing "wrong." For example, every Chinese person is concerned about air blowing on the baby. It will 95 degrees outside and 100% humidity, and people will tell me I need to wrap Eve up in a blanket. Sounds kind of cruel to me. Another mother once looked at the back of Eve's head and saw that it was round (like it should be) and she scolded me saying that my baby should sleep on something harder. Then she showed me the back of her son's head which was almost completely flat in the back. Okay, Right. Another day we were out and had to change Eve's diaper in public. An old grandpa came over and put his finger in under the waistline of her changed diaper to make sure we had not put it on too tight (keep in mind, these are complete strangers!). Another time Sam was holding the baby while he was shopping for some shoes for me. The shopkeeper was so busy telling him how he holding her was wrong that we could not even ask about her merchandise. He tried several times to ask questions and finally gave up and just left. One day while I was out walking a cute old grandma came over to look at Eve. Eve was sucking her pacifier. The grandma told me the baby was hungry and proceeded to pat my breast to emphasize what she thought Eve wanted. Eve was not hungry (I had just fed her) and I was a little shocked! However, I have now had two old grandmas touch my breast when giving me advice about what they think I am doing wrong. I thought I could not get More advice than when I was pregnant; I have now learned that I can now that I have a baby in tow. I guess I would get used to it, huh? =)

Anyway, back to my perm. so after feeding her the other cute girl took Eve back to care for herwhile I finished with my hair. Shortly thereafter, Eve had a huge blow-out in her pants. I apologized and tried to take her back so I could change her diaper and her clothes. The girl insisted that she could do it and let me keep doing my hair. So these sweet girls took care of the the whole mess form me! I tell you, I have not met kinder people than the Chinese when it comes to serving other. I have heard of day-cares in the US that are not even willing to changediaper (the kids have to be potty trained before they will accept them), let alone someone in a hair salon being willing to care for someone's baby for hours, messy diapers and all!

So all in all, my "two hour' perm ended up taking four hours. However, I was pleased with my hair in the end and the time was not as big a deal as it could have been because I had so much help with the baby. I made some sweet friends (who were very curious about us, i.e. "Is it truethat it is nighttime in America when it is daytime here?" "Does your hair just grow this color?", "You take care of your baby all by yourself?! How do you do it?!" "Even boys have curly hair in America, don't they?"), and remembered how cool it is to live abroad and have these kinds of experiences. I love it here! (Even though today I don't have any running water...hope they fix that soon...) and am sad to think that we will be leaving so soon (probably sometime in November).