Fuel for the Fire

We have COFFEE at home!!  Yes, I found a grinder – which promptly stopped working so I’ll be returning it to The Worten for a working version – but not before it ground me enough coffee for 4 days worth of the addicting brew. My new El Chino coffee cups and little stainless steel pot are working as designed.

In the US, I made my coffee in a Turkish coffee pot, but I left it out of my luggage on the last day because we were already at the brink of going over weight. I had no idea how to use the stove top coffee pots here, but the one I bought seems to work fine, and the Torrafacto coffee I used to spend $20 a pound for in the US, is less than 2 euros here and it’s yummy!

Fortified with two cups of coffee, Jeff and I set out to get his hair cut. He already needed one before we left the US, but time ran short. And now we’re at critical mass – or a mass of mangy hair. He has ‘Teddy Bear Head’ and it’s driving him crazy. He’d gone to a couple of barber shops around our apartment but had no success in actually getting a cut. Both barbers spoke English but they kept sending him to the back of the line behind other walk in customers. He even asked if he could make an appointment but was told ‘No, we don’t have appointments’. Just wait.’ Well ‘Just wait’ meant ‘You’ll wait forever.’

He’d come home defeated and confused. So today I took him back to where I get my haircut. They have a women’s side and a men’s side that is filled with darker furniture and more manly style chairs. Seriously, it’s like a cigar bar but without the dark paneling. At first, when I suggested he go to the salon I go to, he was resistant. But looking in the mirror told him it was past time.

We rang the bell and they let us in. I’m always surprised by this ‘door bell’ business model. They look you over and determine if you are worthy of entering their establishment. We made the grade and went in. I explained in my broken Spanish that he needed a haircut – I’m sure they could see for themselves – and they took him to the men’s side and allowed me to go with him to explain what he wanted. Honestly, my Spanish is getting better. And my ‘Yoga Spanish’ is starting to ROCK!!

So they cut his hair and then they took him back and washed it so he doesn’t have all those little hairs that usually mean he comes right home and takes a shower. They trimmed his eyebrows and shaved him with a straight razor. Then the woman took him back to the chair and did a little style with some product. It was the best haircut he’s ever had and he looked amazing.

‘Wow! You look great!’

He smiled and I turned to the stylist.

‘Muey Bien. Muchas Gracias’

She smiled.

‘You need to come here from now on. Maybe don’t wait so long between haircuts and keep it up a little more often.’

Jeff isn’t one for the personal services but he agreed.

‘You have an appointment in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll come back with you then and have her touch it up.’

I smiled but I didn’t say what I was thinking ‘Seeee. I told you so’ didn’t come out of my mouth. One point for me. And his whole experience cost 19 euros. Practically nothing.

Slowly but surely, we are settling in and learning how to get things done. I’ve joined a writers group and made a few friends. I went to the Fallas fireworks with them on Friday night. On Saturday, we’ll meet more people at our Valencian ‘March for our Lives’ rally that a bunch of expats organized. And yesterday I met a newcomer from Northern Ireland for coffee and we had a great time laughing and chatting like old friends. 3 hours went by in a flash and we’re meeting again next week.

Next week, I’m taking a tour of a castle two hours south via bus. It’s my first foray into experiencing the history of the area outside Valencia proper. I’m so excited! So between these activities and my yoga class, I’m doing pretty well on meeting people and making friends. I won’t say it’s not difficult at times but then I remember, it’s only been three weeks.

I tend to be hard on myself. Setting expectations that I do something in a certain time frame, or in a certain way, isn’t a recipe for personal happiness. But I’m working on it. It’s funny, because I rarely have these types of expectations for others so I’m not sure why I’m so strict with myself. But it’s all good. Moving here is a growth experience. And opportunity to do things differently, both internally and externally. If I remember that over my morning coffee each day I do just fine.



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