I warn everyone that the pictures in this entry have nothing to do with this post. I just needed some pics in the post so it is pleasing TO THE EYE, as well as educational about nail salons. So that’s happening, and now I will proceed.
SO I WENT TO THE NAIL SALON. I knew this was going to be an adventure, I knew this was going to be hilarious. I have wanted to go to the nail salon since I have been in Russia, but I have not seen places. This was alarming and confusing because everyone here has amazing eastern European nails that stretch to the sky. I knew they had to come from somewhere… So one day i decided to walk home on the other side of the street for a change and SNAP! Nails have been across the street THE WHOLE TIME.
So today I decided to go for it. I attempted to look up some words before I left, but I could not really fine anything. The only word I could find ON THE WHOLE INTERNET was the word for fingernail. Not that useful, I mean I can charades that up pretty quickly. Anyways, I was trying to make sure they didn’t put on fake nails, but I couldn’t find the word for acrylic. I was going to bring a dictionary with me, but then I remembered I was getting my nails done, so I couldn’t be thumbing through the pages. SIGH. I walked in and was ready for my adventure.
I walked in. The salon looked empty. I was confused. Someone greeted me from behind me that I had not seen. I was scared right off the bat. I asked her how much a manicure was, and there was some confusion. I was thinking that she was asking if i wanted the fake nails so i kept saying NOOOOOO but what she was really asking if I wanted color or not. OF COURSE I WANT COLOR. Then we talked numbers, and I decided to go for it. It was really confusing, but eventually she told me to wait. While I was waiting, I saw a candy dish and decided to go for that too. The only thing was, it was the worst candy in the world. Other people came in the shop and were looking at me because they knew I was foreign, so I could not spit it out and have them think that every American only sucks on candies for a few seconds, and then wastes the rest. So I was in trouble and I have never had that bad of a taste in my mouth. I decided to bite it and try to swallow it all at once to get it over with, but that was worse. The flavor multiplied and my face showed my alarm, and I casually spit it into my purse. I don’t think anyone saw, but I did not even care.
After 20 minutes, the nail woman came and got me. I walked into her private little nail room, and another woman was sitting in the pedicure chair. The woman said to me, in English “The manicurist invites you into her room, I am here, my toes are drying, I speak english and will translate, she does not speak english.” So that was interesting. She had pretty good english, and I asked her why it was so good and she said she worked for an American company. Naturally I asked her what company, and she said AMWAY. “I live in Grand Rapids Michigan!” I exclaimed. She thought it was such a crazy thing to happen. I agreed. People have asked me many times what I plan to do with Russian, and then surprise! I run into a company from my hometown in a nail salon in Russia. It was crazy, and she went on to tell me that she has been to grand rapids before and does a lot of international traveling. Interesting career #1 I found in that shop.
So after that woman left and wished me luck, the woman doing my nails began to talk to me in Russian. She was really good at being patient with me and really wanted to talk to me about the basic things, where i was from, where my family lived etc. She told me she was from Georgia (the country not the state), when she was 7 her family moved to Kazakstan and she had to learn Russian quickly, so she understood and wanted to help me. She liked talking to me so much, that she told me the name of her other salon and gave me her cellphone number and told me to call her and visit her at her other salon. So I think I will get a pedicure in a week or so, just to keep up the connection. She was really nice and really helpful and talking to her was great practice.
THEN my nails were drying, and another woman came in for a pedicure. Surprise! She spoke English too. Her English was not as good as the girl from Amway, but for the most part we could communicate everything. She told me she was from Petergof, which is a small city outside of St. Petersburg that is known for its beautiful winter palace, and its amazing fountains. I asked her how long it takes her to get to work and she said it takes her an hour and 45 minutes. YIKES. Then she dropped the AMAZING bomb about what she did for a living. Are you ready? SHE SETS UP RUSSIAN WOMEN WITH AMERICAN MEN. She’s a translator for the company, as in she translates the letters that the men and women write each other! GASP! Future career for me #2. She even goes on dates with them when the men come here to meet the woman they have been talking to. I asked her a million questions. I asked her if there were more men then women and she told me that they have more women that are interested in finding international men then are men looking for international women. Then I asked if the woman pays the company as well as the man, and she said “In Russia, man pays for everything.” So the man pays the company, the postage for all the letters, the flight over… everything. I asked her if any of them speak other languages, and she said sometimes there a men from Italy and Germany who are looking for girls, but they never speak Russian, and usually once a woman meets a guy, she will take English lessons. AMAZING. Later, we talked about how my russian needs improving and she told me I need to make friends here, and then decided that she can be my friend, and she gave me her number. She is going on a business trip (I wonder what in the world that means for her) until the 6th of October and then we can hang out. I can’t wait to be ELENA’s friend. Also I hope I can work for her company in someway while I am here. I mean, her english is really great but not perfect, and maybe I could help her, or help the girls in some way. This is going to be an adventure and I can’t wait.
So my nails look good. I ended up paying 530rubles, which is around 15-16 dollars US, which is fine. She didn’t massage my hands like how they do in the US. but I decided that I will go back to her because she is so nice, and she also said she had no friends here cause she moved here a year ago and her boyfriend moved to NYC. So next week I am going to get a pedicure. I don’t really mind paying 15$ for a pedicure and an hour of Russian practice with a native. I feel really good about my SALON experience and made two interesting new friends. Oh and I have amazing highlighter yellow nails. NICE!
Also Tomorrow I am going to try to send a small package to my grandma, I bought her a little souvenir thing that does not weigh a lot and was not that expensive, so I am going to experiment with the mail. Ill keep you posted!