Photo Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives

Moving somewhere new, not knowing the rules, and having a constant stream of seemingly ridiculous questions means making contact with the outside world, and hopefully, making friends.. They are your gateway to social support, security and sanity, and while Sinead O’Connor and Demi Moore may be able to rock the buzz cut, for the rest of us, our hair is an integral part of our self image and self-esteem. We all know how difficult it is to walk into a room full of strangers, but trust me, it’s even harder when you look like an extra from Fraggle Rock.

For the less observant amongst you, let me break it to you gently. Hair grows. Usually at a rate that requires a haircut every six to eight weeks. So if you last had a haircut a month before you left town, when you factor in 3 days for jetlag, 4 days for unpacking and finding where to buy toilet tissue, milk and wine, it’s back to self esteem freefall in .. about a week.

The bad news for those of you who haven’t already done this is the point you will be:

1. Trying to get your kids into school, and meeting people you would like to take you seriously. Like the Principal, your child’s teacher and the entire PTA committee. Which is intimidating enough to make your hair stand on end.. Oh wait – it already is..

2. Having your picture taken for EVERYTHING. Driver’s license, employment authorization card, gym, warehouse membership card. Which is exactly where the media will go for a photograph if you develop amnesia and they need to find you. It’s a sad fact that the amnesia doesn’t worry me half as much as having my driving license photo displayed on national television.

3. For the first few weeks, you are overwhelmed with stuff. Unpacking boxes, learning traffic routes, figuring out the school / traffic / bureaucratic system, locating grocery /uniform / hardware stores.. If you find time to run a comb through your hair, you are a better person than I. Finding the time for a hair appointment, in the unlikely event you even know where to go for one? I don’t think so.

4. It takes an incredibly long time to find a new hairdresser if you are staying indoors to avoid being seen with a desperate home cut / color / permanent that went really badly wrong. It may have seemed like a good idea to do it yourself at the time, but the photographs on all your documents are reminding you why you stopped doing home highlights when you were 15.

5. Your hairdresser needs to see how you like to look. And that description shouldn’t include the word Neanderthal. Or Einstein.

6. Your hair will be reacting to the new climate, water, food, hair products and stress. Did we mention the word unmanageable?

I can guarantee that getting your hair done will not be on any relocation checklist and guide out there. But for those of you in any doubt, feel free to test out my theory. Next time you have a strep throat/stomach flu/give birth and don’t sleep /shower for three days, see how much you a) want to meet the school principal, b) go to a corporate function and c) have an official photographic record made. Have I convinced you yet?

 

4 Responses to 6 Reasons why successful relocation starts with a good haircut..

  1. Judy says:

    Good advice and I would add the need to start researching a new hairdresser as soon as you arrive. Going to a salon in a new country, particularly if you don’t speak the language is one of the more scary experiences a woman can have! One of the most compelling reasons for me to attend as many expat events as soon as possible is so that I can scope out women with good hair and ask them where they get it cut. :)

  2. Naomi says:

    LOVED this! As a newly “outed” relocatee, I am reading your blog with great interest!! Great topic/subject!

    • Rachel Yates says:

      Thanks ! Good luck with your move – we’ll have to get you to test some of the new checklists and worksheets that we are developing…

  3. Emma says:

    I have been known to accost many a lady in the street, grocery store, park etc to ask where she got her hair cut. Despite looking at me in terror to begin with thinking I’m some manic stranger with potential life threatening abilities, they all very quickly and graciously told me where they went and which stylist they used once I’d reassured them I wasn’t some wierdo mass murderer but simply a poor gal in a new country trying to find a good hair cut and that I’d chosen them to ask because they looked so good! A bit of flattery works wonders.

    Just for the record I also accost people with boys in the toy aisle at Target – which I know does make me seem a little suspicious – but you try finding a suitable “boy toy” (please note I did not say “toy boy”!) when you only have three girls.

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