I’m not sure if I’ve already opened with this quote, but here goes anyways: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experience on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Quote by Joseph Campbell, given to myself by my friend, Woody.
My last week has been full of changes… the highlights including that Cass went back to Nebraska, and school started here for little ones so I back at nanny life with Mar (7) and Clara (3) before and after school. Thankfully Clara now goes to the same school as her sister so it’s a little bit less running around than last spring. Because Alba and Ferran separated, I now help Ferran in the mornings of his weeks to get the girls up, breakfast, dressed, hair done, and to school on time. Sounds WAY easier than it has turned out to be thus far. The first few mornings Ferran’s mother came over, showing me how the girls like their breakfast beverages prepared, where the hair ties are kept, and how to best regulate the much-requested before-school TV watching.
Well as fate would have it, come Wednesday morning when we were on our own, Clara decided that she simply would not be donning anymore clothing articles aside from her underwear. Clara is the hilarious, goofy, dramatic one of the two sisters, but she is also like a bomb; when she does not want to do something, there is a loud explosion followed by tears and usually sitting on the ground and not moving. And of course, Mar is the one who needs to be at school by 8:45 while Clara enters at 9:00. So Mar was getting really mad at Clara for making us late. Finally, we were able to get Clara’s outfit on and we hurried out the door whilst Clara continued to cry that she hated her shoes. Clara made it on time, but Mar was late and was understandably sad about it.
So Thursday morning went better, everyone was on time and no tears were shed. That brings us to Friday morning. We were off to a good start- both ladies were up, ate an adequate breakfast, and were in the process of getting fully dressed for the day. As I was trying to convince/ help Clara get out of her pajamas, Mar finished dressing and announced that she was ready for hair! I left Clara to pout and went to the bathroom to start Mar’s hair. I quickly took out my bun, and was about to re-do it, when Mar glanced at my hair down and all the sudden wanted to brush it… seemed like a harmless proposition. Next thing you know both Clara and Mar are hamming it up, brushing my hair as if I were a life-sized Barbie doll. About 30 seconds went by before I lifted up my head to look into the mirror. I simultaneously realized that the round brush Mar had been using was, horrifyingly stuck in my hair (Right side, front, all the way to the scalp).
Quickly Mar clarifies that it was not her doing, that when I lifted my head the brush got tangled… I manage to keep calm at first, as I try to gingerly then more desperately separate my hair from the brush, the brush from my head. You couldn’t move the round brush it was that deeply entrenched in my hair. As panic set in, visions of myself with a bald spot flashed across my mind. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get this out by myself, that they might have to cut my hair, and that the girls were not going to get to school without me. So while Mar helped dress Clara, I gathered our things in a flurry and proceeded to wrap one of Mar’s sweaters around my head (complete with brush) like a turban but much less sophisticated. We left for school early in the vain hope that the hair salon on the way to school might be open. Low and behold, they were not. Hence, we walked to school my eyes on the ground, face red with that unwelcome sting of public mortification. Once at the school, I desperately asked an administrator if the girls could possibly enter early as I was (CLEARLY) having a bit of an emergency. The sleepy-eyed Catalan started at me and responded, “No, sorry, gotta wait.” Ok, perfect! So for another 15 minutes I just waited with the girls at the front door, knee-deep in both bewildered and sympathetic stares.
After dropping both girls off at the respective classrooms, I ran for the hills and stopped at the same hair salon that now appeared open. A graying man came to the entrance and said I’d have to come back, as he was busy currently. Tears filling my eyes, I said (in Spanish) that’s fine, thank you. While I’m dejectedly turning to leave, he goes: “Do you really have a hairbrush stuck under there?”…Yes. Shockingly this is not a joke. I take off the sweater wrapped around my head, which is when the man says “Oh lord. Come on in dear, sit down.” FINALLY SOMEONE GRASPS THE SITUATION.
A grueling ten minutes later, a small army of products used, the round brush is finally freed from my hair, resulting in a bird’s nest of tangled hair the size of a tennis ball. At this point I was crying tears of joy and relief that he didn’t have to cut my hair. To top it off, he wouldn’t let me pay him anything; now that is a good person. In the end, it was fine but holy shitty Friday morning. And no, I will never again let little people play with my hair. That proverbial bridge has been burned.
Aside from nanny duties, I said goodbye to Cass this last week. She flew back to NE with her family on Wednesday afternoon. It was hard to say goodbye to the one person who has been with me here since day one. I cried alone the entire walk back to what once was our shared apartment. Every time the tears would pause, I would unintentionally drift back to another memory we share from the last 15 months abroad. (Choking down hot lentil soup at Petra’s last summer, climbing Montserrat with Ben, wine nights at the apt, nearly freezing to death last winter, the girls trip to northern Spain with Larissa). We had quite a time together!
That being said, without Cass and Wi-Fi in the apartment, it has become a bit of a drag to stay there now. I will be moving all of my stuff into Damian’s on Monday, so I am excited for that…no more going back and forth all the time, plus I love Poblenou! This Wednesday is La Merce, the annual citywide holiday celebrating Barcelona’s patron saint. Not only am I looking forward to all of the La Merce festivities this coming week, but also am very excited that my friend Ben is coming to town to visit! Yay friends! Also this week I am planning on taking my first GRE practice exam. Then Sunday the 28th I will be running the La Merce 10k race, and Sunday happens to be myself and Damian’s one-year anniversary!