My exponentially expanding belly and constant comments about “any day now” serve as steady reminders about how life as we know it is about to get turned on its head. Don’t get me wrong, we are beyond ecstatic for the arrival of our little ones and I feel blessed to have made it this far in the pregnancy. However, I am also trying to make the most of the life of “coupledom” before our little family doubles in size. When my parents presented me with a salon day as a birthday present, I figured this would be a great way to spend a Saturday while Chris was away at a basketball game. Getting a few recommendations from my well-coiffed friends, I made an appointment with a stylist accustomed to cutting Western hair. (Trust me, it is different from Asian hair. If you don’t believe me, look at some of my pictures shortly after a Taiwanese haircut.)
I decided that I would venture out and find this salon on my own. I’m trying to get my fill of “on my own” now as I understand that will be quite difficult to come by in a few weeks. So, I wandered down to a main street by our school and hailed a taxi. I told him the area of town that I wanted and off we went. I had been to this area of town once before and I was convinced that I would somewhat easily be able to locate the salon in question. My dear husband often teases me about how much slack time I give myself as our travel days often turn into a “hurry up and wait” kind of experience. Following this pattern, I gave myself about 40 minutes for a jaunt that I calculated should take approximately 15 minutes. At this point, my main concern was whether or not the hair place would have a comfortable waiting area.
However, I noticed that the taxi was taking a few back roads with which I was quite unfamiliar. When he finally stopped, I knew I was in the correct neighborhood but not where I needed to be. Unable to communicate “take me to some place I might recognize like a subway”, I simply paid the man and stepped out, again, on my own. Surely the subway was around there somewhere and I would be able to get my bearings from there. So, off I went in search of the subway. Not the finest decision I’ve ever made. I zigged and zagged through alleys and main roads trying to sniff out the elusive subway. At one point, I attempted to get directions from a friendly 7-Eleven clerk who looked rather alarmed when this staggeringly pregnant foreigner wanted to walk all the way to the subway. I figured that was probably not a good sign. Keep in mind, finding the subway was only going to be a landmark for me and, judging by my directional prowess thus far, would probably do me very little good. So, at about five minutes until my appointment, I decided to throw in the towel.
I hailed the nearest taxi once again while simultaneously calling the hair salon. The following part of this story is why I love living in Asia. I explained to the person at the salon that I had an appointment but was unable to locate their whereabouts, would he mind directing the taxi driver? No questions asked, he agreed and I passed the phone to the driver who didn’t bat an eye as he astutely listened to his destination. He very swiftly took me in the exact opposite direction that I had been walking for some time. As I passed by the newly familiar shops and restaurants I wondered why I hadn’t just done this in the first place. But then, where is the adventure in that? A mere ten to fifteen minutes and about $3.50 later, I was at the salon’s doorstep. The helpful taxi and I parted ways and I was greeted into the salon with a warm cup of tea. This was followed by a lovely hair washing and haircut performed without giving me ridiculous 80’s style layers (again, see pictures of haircuts in Taiwan). Refreshed by my new style as well as my adventure gone awry, I once again found a taxi. This time, I knew how to direct him to our apartment so no phone call was necessary. That is a step in the right direction, right?