Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One More Haircut

The measurement of time is an interesting one. The song from the musical "Rent" flutters in the back of my mind.  How do you measure the passing or anticipation of time?

I walk the same route back and forth to the university every day, usually 4 times a day or 2 round trips. During our summer vacation here, in the afternoons, as I cut through the local park, I usually saw children playing. Oh, how the youth think that time will never pass, that summer days last forever, and that youth is endless. I usually felt a sense of telling them to enjoy every moment of their unabashed enjoyment of the simplicity of life, before life got in the way. If I could, I  wish I could tell them to not be in a rush to grow up, before deadlines, commitments  bills, ad responsibilities robbed them of their zest for living.

It made me reflect on my younger days and how I thought about time. A memory of  fall afternoons comes to my mind. It was still warm but the sun would start its descent behind the western horizon. I would sit in the green grass in the front of my church, waiting for my mom to come pick me up after play practice at my high school across the street. I remember thinking that high school would last forever. 4 years? That seemed like a lifetime. Yet, now I look back and wonder where did  20 years disappear to since those memories?

Time is a slippery object to measure.

Yesterday, I realized  during my 11 am Intermediate II class that it was the first day of my last semester of teaching at the University of Piura. Yesterday was the last time I would use my introduction to class Prezi.

On Monday, this thought began to percolate in my mind as I sat in the salon. The salon, in the basement of a house, is large, spacious,quiet and clean. It's heavenly. Even getting cold wax ripped from my overgrown eyebrows was a relaxing experience in the cool, quiet room.  All I heard was the gentle swish of the air conditioner unit and the occasional sound of the salon assistant. There was no sounds of trucks,or motos, or even of people.  Another woman quietly read a magazine as she waited for a manicure.

There was something calming and yet normalizing about being at the salon. I was transported away from the reality of my daily life here by doing something as normal as going to the salon.  One of my favorite indulgences is having my hair washed in a salon. I love the feeling of the water rushing through my hair.

Afterwards, as I sat in the stylist's chair, waiting for the hair stylist, I looked in the mirror. I reflected back on my first visit to the salon with my colleague at the time. I remember how nervous I was to be there. I had written down carefully what I wanted done to my hair in Spanish.  Would I get a hack job or would it be good?  Thankfully, the salon has been a good place to go with the actual ambiance of a spa.

I forced myself to take a long look at myself in the mirror.  However, I hate mirrors. I hate the utter depressing feeling I get when I stare back at my reflection. I can't hide from the truth about how I really look in the mirror.

Yet, as I stared at myself yesterday afternoon,  I saw change from that first reflection in that mirror last fall.  I saw not only physical change but spiritual and emotional change looked back at me. I didn't immediately feel depressed about my lack of beauty.  I saw a spark of confidence and acceptance in my eyes looking back.  Hey, I'm not as ugly as I thought.  Maybe?

Then something hit me.

I only had one haircut left to schedule in Peru before I returned to the United States. One haircut left for mid-May.  The next time for a haircut will be when I'm back home.

One more haircut.  Can I really measure time by haircuts?

What about rent payments?

5 more.

How many more Sundays at church?

19 more, adjusting for General Conference and Stake Conference leaves 17.

Weeks in the semester? 16 weeks for my everyday classes. My English for Communications class lasts longer but I'm not sure how much longer.

According to www.timeanddate.com,  I can also caculate time by days, months, hours, etc.

From and including: Tuesday, 5 March 2013
To and including: Wednesday, 24 July 2013
It is 142 days from the start date to the end date, end date included
Or 4 months, 20 days including the end date
Alternative time units
142 days can be converted to one of these units:
  • 12,268,800 seconds
  • 204,480 minutes
  • 3408 hours

I don't know the best way to measure time, but when I realize I've been here for nearly 8 months,  I wonder where time went so quickly. Soon enough, I'll be sitting in an American salon at the end of July, for my first American haircut after a year, and looking back at the last months of my experience here and wonder how I measure the future.

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