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Thoughts from a Barber’s waiting room. ~ NewLife Steev

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I was thinking of writing this post while waiting to get my hair cut at a barbershop in Bari, Italy. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s a common phenomenon, but a lot of the barbershops I go to look like they’re from another country.

Bilal of Bari is Pakistani. He remembers having his hair cut by a Turkish man in Athlone, Ireland. By a Tunisian who lives in a small town near Paris. By a Ghanaian in Prague and by a Zimbabwean (at least his family is from there I think) in Sedavi, Spain. Finally, last year I had my hair cut in Sheffield by a guy from Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

These things are not planned, but because they are travelers and want to talk about their home country and future plans, conversations are often in English and usually interesting Thing.

A beautiful sculpture at the entrance of a barber shop in Prague.

Today Bilhal is a pretty big guy who likes to command me, but I wanted to talk about his plans to move to Canada again, not about Pakistan. He has a friend who owns a small store near Toronto who wants to expand it and wants to invite him over. This could happen within the next six months and it was clear he was excited about the possibility.

But a lot of the time people are thinking about the places they left behind and the things they couldn’t take with them. My Tunisian barber, Ali, would really like to return home more often, but she can’t afford it and she hates the experience of going through immigration in France. My Italian barber who lives in Sheffield will miss her so much the warmth and love she experienced in her Amalfi.

My experience in Prague was one of the most interesting. People there had Internet radio tuned to local stations from their towns in Ghana and listened to Ghanaian music interspersed with local news and gossip. It’s a bit like what we’re used to from local shows. British radio. Of course this was in English, so I was able to understand most of it. And since it was summertime, it wasn’t too hard to think of being in an African country instead of Central Europe for half an hour.

It’s supposed to be in a barbershop, but it’s an art installation in the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna, Austria.

People have always traveled and will continue to travel to build a better life. As a volunteer over the years, and now teaching English as a second language to many people online with Cambly, many of us have come to explore other countries and see places far from home. I know you want to acquire this skill. It always makes me sad when people can’t make it happen. One of my Russian students wanted to visit Western Europe before the pandemic, but Covid-19 made it impossible. Of course, now she cannot visit due to sanctions against her home country (her ticket is too expensive) and she is thinking of going to Armenia or Turkiye instead. Her two of my Turkish students have successfully emigrated to Germany. I was rather surprised that they were studying English for this job. However, one needed the level of English needed to enter a local university, and the other needed the level of English needed to get a job at an international company. We are both busy learning German now.

Because of my luck, I find it easy to travel. Some, like this man interviewed by Drew Binsky (who has visited every country in the world), come from difficult countries and still manage to travel. Bader Khan (who seems to have only one name) has traveled on an Iraqi passport and has traveled to 70 countries around the world – my only he is far more than 23 countries.

Of course, the people most willing to leave their country are those who feel threatened or unsafe by their government or regime. I have worked with many asylum seekers and refugees and heard some horror stories. I couldn’t help but be impressed by their desire to succeed in their adopted home and give back to England. So it is very sad that there seems to be an increase in harshness towards those who come here, especially those who come in desperation. In “small boats”.

Often times, they became desperate and didn’t want to leave their home country, but felt they had no other choice. Many of them have never traveled abroad before, so they have no idea what will happen. Many of them are well educated in their home country but may not have the ‘right’ qualifications to pursue a professional career in the UK. I’ve met architects, university lecturers, pharmacists, and they’re all underpaid, simply because it costs them money they don’t have to get the qualifications they need to practice in the UK. I was forced to get a job (although some colleges and Open Universities were great). ) Of course this is only for refugees and asylum seekers are not even allowed to work in the UK. I have to say this makes no sense to me. Certainly, if people are willing and able to work, they should be able to work, if only to help finance their stay here. I know people are complaining that they are taking away jobs that could be done by the locals, but they are people who came out of dire straits and the numbers we are talking about are very high. less than

View from the cable car in Brest, France.
View of Brest from the end of the cable car – the scene of the ultimate haircut.

Meanwhile, all I desperately want is to get my hair cut and my beard trimmed. I’ve only had one really bad experience. In Brest, France, at a local barber shop. I clearly didn’t use the right word to “prepare,” so I ended up shaving my head and getting rid of most of my beard. Still, it saved me money because I didn’t have to go to another haircut for months. And my best experience would be a Turkish barber shop in Ireland. I didn’t know I could get VIP treatment. I got a head and shoulder massage, my beard was shampooed, my eyebrows were trimmed, and my inner ear hairs (which I didn’t even know I had) were set on fire, and it was a pretty disturbing experience. It’s almost worth staying in Athlone to go to the barber every month or so. However, the life of a traveler is always about saying goodbye and wondering what the next new encounter will bring. Where should I get my next haircut?

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