The International Quest for the Best Haircut

American Adventures, Edinburgh Expeditions, Florentine Scribblings

I have short hair.

As it, I couldn’t dream of pulling it back in a pony. A pixie cut, with long fringe (Anne Hathaway stole my hair cut. And I wear it better).

Which is great. I love having short hair, it sets me apart (especially in the US). It’s stylish, different and far more ‘me.’ However, having short hair means that I can’t fall into the ‘I can get a hair cut anywhere’ camp. Too boxy a cut and I look like a soccer mom. Too short, and it just looks awful (as anyone who has seen my undergraduate graduation day photos can attest to. My hairdresser thought that ‘can you fix my fringe’ meant ‘cut them away completely’).

In my various stints as a temporary expat, I’ve found the need to get a good haircut. And when you are completely unfamiliar with an area (and in some cases, with the language) you need recommendations.

My first international hair cut was courtesy of an Italian man named Fabio. He spoke enough English to cut hair, and I knew enough Italian to end up with something cool. There was, of course, a little bit of confusion.

“Can I have something cute? Feminine? But short,” I said (in Italian).

Fabio looked at me, confused. “But Italian men like women with long hair.”

“But I prefer having short hair.”

Bear in mind that at this point, my hair was just below my chin and rather shapeless. There was no way that I was going to have long, flowing tresses without years of growing my hair, or expensive extensions.

Fabio blinked. “So, you want…sex appeal for women?”

Si,” I replied, not processing that he had just asked if I wanted to appeal to women. Fabio’s inquiries into my alleged preferences didn’t matter, and I ended up with the best hair cut I had had to that date.

The result? A cool, choppy, assymetric look. I was hooked. And had to go over two years without something similar.

The next awesome international haircut I got was in Edinburgh. I had been to another salon and just wasn’t happy with the look (it grew out into a bob, which just doesn’t suit me), so I went to Hot Head salon. A lovely pink-haired Scottish lady named Sabrina cut my hair–and it was awesome. She consistently did a great job (particularly when I switched to my current ‘do, a Frankie Saturday inspired Pixie cut). I joked that I would have to return to Scotland every six weeks so I could get my hair cut.

Sadly, trips to Scotland every 6 weeks are not doable at this stage of my life, so I had to find a new hair salon. A tentative call to a new salon yielded a same-day haircut, with a lady named Jackie.

As soon as I stepped into the salon and saw her purple hair, I knew we’d get on well. Result? I guess I don’t need to go abroad for one of the best hair cuts I’ve had.

Hand Made Souvenir!

Florentine Scribblings

Well, I’m departing the grand old US of A tomorrow for the last spring break of my undergrad career. I’m going back to Florence (!), this time to visit my sister, who’s studying there (though at a different school than I did).

I recently finished up one of my sketchbooks, but was faced with a dilemma. The one I bought latest is…well…massive. It doesn’t fit in my carry-on, and like hell am I going to lug it across the city (even though I would if I had an art class there…). Anyways, I had a few lineless moleskine notebooks lying around, so I decided to use one to make a trip journal/sketchbook.

I love to write and draw, but rarely do I have a small notebook with me. I’ll be carrying this one so I can sketch and record silly comments whenever I want. I’m also going to tape in all of my train tickets and museum entry passes, restaurant cards, store names, etc.

I am so looking forward to this trip. I cannot wait to return to my home-away-from home.

Cultural Readjustment: A Work in Progress

Florentine Scribblings

I never thought it would happen.

All of my study abroad handbooks said things along the lines of “you will be homesick and then you will be fine” followed by “the reentry will be difficult and you will be homesick for your host country.”

I looked at those and laughed; I thought that I wouldn’t be affected by homesickness of any sort. I had no longing for home while in Italy–there was that desire for my comfortable bed, but beyond that, I was content in Italy.

Today, it hit me.

I’ve been Stateside for nearly two weeks now. Those two weeks have been jam packed, all in an attempt to acclimate myself to being home, along with family reunions and temporarily relocating for a brief summer job.

I was sitting in training this afternoon, and I thought of Italy. My time there felt so distant, as though it never actually happened. I pushed it aside and got on with my day. Now, waiting to fall asleep, I long for Italy. I long for the museums, particularly the Palazzo Pitti. The laid back attitude, the ability to walk clear across the city. I miss apertivi. I miss my mid-morning cappuccino.

How long does the cultural readjustment last?

Safe and sound at home again.

Florentine Scribblings

Well, I’m home. Back in the States. I have been since Saturday.

It’s odd, being home after such a long time away. Everything is so familiar, yet alien. On Monday, I trekked into Boston for the morning. Even though I know different parts of the city quite well, as I took the T and wandered through Coolidge Corner, I felt as though I was looking at a new world. It excited me, made me anxious to explore what I took for granted. I’m looking forward to doing the silly touristy things again (Duck Tours, Boston Tea Party museum, etc) with new eyes.

Is this what its like coming home after such a long time away? Where things are familiar, but forever just beyond your grasp?

I haven’t made a venture into a big box store yet. That will be interesting.

In which Beth goes to Hell (merrily)

Florentine Scribblings

I have the greatest term paper topic ever. I’m taking a class on Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio this semester, and for my term paper, I get to pull together my own version of Hell.


So what does this entail? Well, May’s short story will be written by Thursday (nothing like a little pressure). And I get to explore Hell, complete with my own guide, decide which sins end up where, the punishment, and so forth. It’s going to be great.

At this point, I’m part of the way through Hell. I’ve been through the antechamber, down through the first two levels. By this afternoon, I’ll have made it through all six. Why six? From what I remember from my Biblical literature courses, six is an imperfect number. There will be seven sections to my Hell, and an eighth section occurring outside of Hell (creating the seven days of one’s life and the eighth day of the Resurrection…what I’ve learned here in Florence).

Well, I’m off to Hell. I’ll be back soon.

Hurray for Art!

Florentine Scribblings

My muse has been a bit confused lately. To draw or to write?

This week, my energies are transferred to the first medium. One of the wonderful aspects about living in Florence is the numerous art museums, each begging to be explored. I find myself returning to the Palazzo Pitti at every chance I get. Why? It’s never as crowded as the Uffizi and there’s a rather large collection of Andrea del Sarto’s paintings, including one of my personal favorites, San Giovanni Battista.

San Giovanni Battista


Anyways, wandering through art museums always piques my creativity. Whether through drawing, or being drawn completely into the moment captured in marble or oils. There’s something contemplative about del Sarto’s works that makes me stop, stare and wonder.

I’m entering an art show in Florence. My submission is a ‘reinterpretation’ of this piece, a bust portrait in conte crayon. Plus, my paper is larger–100x70cm. My room has turned into a studio, with sketches and reproductions strewn across the floor.

I’ll post pictures after the show–I’m not sure what the rules are regarding photos of the work prior to the event.