I’ve finally found something where I am glad I didn’t use myAmigos!

As you may have already read on this blog, I recently tried to get new glasses without the help of myAmigos. That was a big mistake. While I was feeling brave and independent though, I also got my hair cut recently without using myAmigos. I guess after finishing my PhD, big image changes were necessary.

I hate getting my hair cut. I also hate not being able to speak Spanish as well as I would like. I thought those two things would mean that without myAmigos I would hate getting my hair cut here more. But it’s like those two hates cancelled each other out. I was surprised!

It taught me a lot about myAmigos and myself. Don’t get me wrong. For some people using myAmigos to get their hair cut is fantastic.

How to get your hair cut where you don’t speak the language

There are basically five ways to get your hair cut while in an area where you don’t speak the language:

  1. Research and find a hairdresser that speaks your language. They can be hard to find, if they even exist. They can be in inconvenient locations. They can be more expensive. And you are choosing them not based on how good they are in their primary skill (hairdressing), but how good they are at speaking your language. When I need expert help, I want the experts concentrating on their expertise rather than how to speak in a non-native language. But if you are someone who loves being in control in these situations and wants to be able to give detailed instructions as required, this may be your best option.
  2. Just go to a hair dresser that doesn’t speak your language without language support. Hairdressers are visual people. Take along some photos of what you like, or of processes you want done. These means you are free to choose your hair dresser based on convenience, cost, or recommendations from locals. You are not limited to a very small subset of hairdressers.
  3. Take a bilingual friend with you. If you are a social creature and you like the social aspects of getting your hair done then this is perfect for you. Maybe your friend can get their hair done at the same time. Or they can just stay with you. For some people, having a friend stay with them can be awkward though. It can give off “parent taking a child to the hairdresser” vibes.
  4. Hire a professional interpreter. This seems so silly to me that I didn’t even think of it, until the second draft of this article. That’s one of the ways myAmigos is more helpful for expats than a professional interpreter. It’s more versatile and can do all the small “do me a favour” jobs you would ask a friend as well as the tasks usually associated with getting an interpreter to help.
  5. Don’t go to hairdressers. During the pandemic, a lot of us relied on ourselves or our loved ones to keep our hair under control. Or just let it get it out of control. Maybe that worked for you and you can continue that. No judgement here.

It’s all about you

For me number 2 was the right option. We only want you to use myAmigos where it can make your life overseas easier, safer or more fun. Usually that means when it can save you time, money, or stress. Getting my hair cut has always been stressful for me. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I don’t really know what I want and think hairdressers know what looks good better than me. Secondly, I hate small talk. I hate it at the best of times. When I am not wearing my glasses, and have sharp things pointed at my head, I hate it even more!

So, in this environment, not being able to talk to the hairdresser actually saved me stress. I may even pretend not to speak English when I have to get my hair cut in an English-speaking country now. No small talk required. No discussion about processes, finer details, no back and forth about whether or not they are finished. Show a couple of images, say please and thank you, and you are out of there.

I learnt because of my relationship with hairdressing, myAmigos wouldn’t have helped. And that’s the point. For different people, different interactions cost them more time, money, and stress when they are overseas. There are different ways to solve these problems. Depending on the source of the extra time, money, or stress, myAmigos is often a perfect solution.

From the list of alternatives above, you are most likely to enjoy using myAmigos to help you get your hair cut when you’d like to be able to choose a hairdresser based on something to do with their hairdressing rather than their language skills. And when you enjoy the social interaction aspect of hairdressing. And if you can’t, or would prefer not to, go with a real life friend.

If that description fits you, or you have another interaction where having a bilingual friend in your pocket could save you time, money, and stress, please sign up today.

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