The Eyebrow Saga

The thing about Vigo is that you really need to know Spanish to get anything done, while in Madrid or Barcelona you may be able to get by with English Vigo it’s your choice between Spanish or Galician. Those are your choices. Thus, this can sometimes makes the simple things in life, like getting your eyebrows done, a bit difficult.

When I first arrived here I made a Spanish friend that lived next door and kind of became her shadow. One weekend when I was following her around she asked me if I wanted to go and get my eyebrows done. Sure! was my first thought because when I get to a new city I always try and find a good place to get them done. So we embarked on what has now come to be known as the eyebrow saga.

First time I was berated, in Spanish, for waxing my eyebrows for well about as long as I can remember… Then I was told that I needed to let my eyebrows grow out so she could fix the years of horribleness I had bestowed upon them.

So I started to let them grow out. I had once seen an Opera episode where Opera hired this eyebrow guru to fix these women’s eyebrows and how to shape them and all that and I thought, ‘Hey! Look at that I don’t have to be on Opera to get the perfect eyebrow.” I pretended that if I wore my glasses no one could see my eyebrows. They grew and grew until finally I could take it no more and I went back. But it was Monday and they are closed on Mondays. It took a few Mondays for me to remember this.

On Tuesday I went again on my way to tutoring but with the number of people waiting I didn’t even walk in I turned around and left.

That Friday they were super crowded, again.

On Monday I went and they were closed again, obviously.

I let it go for a week and then decided I really needed to get them done. I went on Friday after coffee with the girls. I thought in my head about all the possible things I have to say. Hi is Mariel here, can she do my eyebrows? Is Mariel working today? When does she work next? Thanks. I thought this would suffice. But then I got there and asked for Mariel. Mariel was on lunch. I hadn’t thought of a response to this. I couldn’t seem to spit out “When does she come back? Or how much longer? Or okay thanks then I’ll come back tomorrow. So I stuttered and ultimately decided on Vale, gracias, ciao.

The next week I was a bit busy so Friday rolled around again and I was determined to get my eyebrows done. I went before coffee to put my name on the list. When I walked in and asked for Mariel the women looked confused.


“No, Mariel?”


“Espera.” (Wait.) I had a card in my bag with Mariel’s name written on it and as I went to grab it the women I had been talking to starting screaming over me. “I have a foreigner here and I can’t understand who she is asking for!” Listen lady, I have understood everything you just said, I have said the correct name three times and you refuse to try and understand my Spanish. It you want to play that game lets talk English and see how that works out. So this other women came over, the one I’d had a few conversations with at this point and spoke Spanish to me, because that’s how they handle foreigners here, they just speak Spanish until you figure it out. She told me to wait a minute and I stood there. Then I realized she might have meant a Spanish minute and not a normal minute so I sat down on the bench and pulled out my book which happened to be a Geranimo Stilton book. For those who don’t know Geronimo Stilton is a rat that has written a series of children’s books about his adventures. So there I sat in this swanky, high-end pelicularia (hairdresser) and waited. I got a few looks for reading my book but I didn’t care.

Finally the planets had aligned and she was there and I was able to come back at “uno y cuarto.” (1:15), or so I thought.

I went back at 1:15, running through the door to make sure I was there on time only to be met by my lovely friend, the secretary, who just stood there shaking her head.

“Pero uno y cuarto, no?” I asked (But 1:15, right?)

She continued to shake her head.

“Uno MENOS cuarto.” She said emphasizing the menos as if she just wanted to rub it in some more. I shook my head.

“Menos?! Ay dios mio.” I was so ready to get my eyebrows down but again I had struck out. I got a sympathetic speech on how it’s hard to do time in other languages and I just gave a small nod.

“Y mañana? Mariel trabaja?” (And tomorrow, does she work?)

“Si claro, puedes llamar… Puedes llamar?” She answered as if I should have known that already. (Yes, of course, you can call. Can you call?”)

“Si! Vale me voy.” I said yes but I really meant no, the thought of making a telephone call in Spanish terrified me. I hate making phone calls in English yet along Spanish.

On Saturday I came prepared. I walked in armed with a book and ready to wait however long it would take to get my eyebrows done. My friend at the desk saw me and I was greeted with a smile and “venga” (Come). I followed her and went to talk to Mariel. At last! After they talked about me I was ushered into another chair. I pulled out my book but by the time I opened it she was already at my side ready to do my eyebrows. She was very pleased to see how long they had gotten and went away plucking each and every hair she wanted gone.

When I was paying I was talking to the same woman that had helped me through this debacle. She said “You did it.” and I said “Finalmente!” (finally!). She then whispered under her breath “al fin.” She couldn’t even let me have that one win.

Nonetheless, my eyebrows look great.

A few days later, on Ally’s last day, she wanted to get her eyebrows done and since we had been running errands I went with her. She went to a different place, walked right in and got them done. One her first try. Oh. And she paid a third of the price.

Esa es mi viva.

(This is my life.)