One thing I have learned in my brief time as an expat is to ask questions. Ask questions whenever you can, about things you need, want, just want to know, etc. Sometimes, information and resources come from unlikely places and people.
Around the beginning of October, I was in dire need of a haircut. We were out to dinner one night with our landlord, Alfonso (The Phons) and The Phons’ significant other. I asked him if he knew of a good place to get a haircut. He said he did, and would show me on the way back (he drove us to the restaurant).
When we headed home, he drove a few blocks off the usual route, into a residential area. He pulled up and pointed out a sign, near a long driveway. He said it was Mariana’s salon and she was a good hair stylist. I would never have seen this place on my own.
The next day, on my way back from the grocery store, I stopped by the “salon,” which is a downstairs room in the house Mariana and her husband, Calvin, rent. I made an appointment for a couple of days later.
When I went in for my haircut, I was chatting away with Mariana, who is very friendly and has a delightful Columbian accent (speaks very good English). During our conversation, I asked her if she knew of a good place to take Spanish lessons. She said her husband knew a place. She got Calvin and he told me about a guy who teaches Spanish to gringos at his house. The classes are once a week and they’re free. My kind of price!
Calvin sent me an email from the teacher, Steve, with information and directions to the class - which just happened to be the next day. I sent an email to Steve and told him we’d like to attend. He said we were very welcome. We hiked to Steve’s house the next day, to start our Spanish lessons. See the Spanish Lessons post for the continuation of the story.
The lesson: Asking questions, which started with finding a place to get a haircut, ended up getting us connected to free expat Spanish lessons. You just gotta ask…
By the way, Mariana gave me a very good haircut, complete with washing and drying my hair – all for $8 (including tip).
Posted by Mark