Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cultural Experiences at the Nail Salon

So for girls like me, who like to get their nails done and don't want to spend an absurd amount of money to do so, we tend to go to the no-appointment needed, "we welcome walk-in" type nail salon. Typically, these are owned and operated by a lot of Asians. The store names are also pretty unoriginal: i.e. LA Nails, California Nails, Sun Nails, etc. Well this past week, I visited my very first, Asian-operated nail salon in Sioux Falls. After doing some brief research, I decided to go to Ann Nails (who's Ann? I wondered...) on the east side of town by Dunn Bros Coffee.

I walked in, and of course, there are five workers just waiting for the opportunity to touch my feet and hands. And as usual, I get stuck with the one Asian guy employee. Their super soft hands just creep me out. So I take my seat in the kinda nice massage chair and the pedicure process begins. Now the heels I had been wearing at work that day had left some damage on my big toe, yet the guy couldn't seem to avoid this area. I think he poured nail polish remover (aka pure acid) on the wound five times. I bit my tongue. After he mentioned that I have nice feet (thanks, guy?), he proceeded to massage my foot. Typically, this is my favorite part of the pedicure process. This dude, however, squeezed my foot so hard that he gave me a charlie horse. Of course, he didn't notice, even though my foot was stuck in some odd position and I couldn't move it. I wanted to kick him.

The rest of the pedicure was pretty uneventful. Except at one point he was basically punching my leg. Must be some new massage technique. Whatevs.

On to the manicure. So for those who don't know, I wear a sapphire ring on my right hand. It's nothing too incredibly special and it's not worth $5000. But this dude was FASCINATED by my ring. He nudge the neighboring Asian worker and said something like "She likes your ring." Ummm okay guy. Then they proceeded to converse about my ring in a language I clearly couldn't understand. The Asian woman than proceeded to stand up, walk over to me, pick up my hand and stare at my ring. It might not sound that bizarre to you, but trust me, it was awkward.

The manicure proceeded as normal...until Asian guy started singing along to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"....except he definitely didn't know the lyrics. I should've started singing along. Dang. Opportunity = missed. And then...we all got Rick Rolled. Clearly this wasn't an experience I could enjoy with others, considering the cultural barriers surrounding me. But I did giggle to myself.

All in all, it was quite the experience. And no matter what Asian nail salon you visit, you will notice the following:
1. The owner/manager lady is always wearing crazy/uncomfortable looking shoes
2. The TV is either turned to TNT/TBS or the radio is tuned to the "lite hits" station
3. There is only ONE male worker.
4. You will never have a good conversation with your manicurist.

Anybody else have nail salon stories to share?

Friday, October 1, 2010

The power of a good Hallmark card...

I'm the first to admit that I generally do not read the cards that I receive. I should clarify by saying that if I receive one completely out of the blue, I'll *mostly* read it, but as for birthdays/graduation, forget it. Skip the mass production language and get to the good stuff. And everybody says that a handwritten card means more than just buying one off the shelf. But at this point in my life, I think I'm going to have to disagree. I think both handwritten and store-bought cards can provide incredibly powerful messages.

I don't know why I recently started reading cards. Maybe it's because I also had to buy a couple and really took some time to find a card that seemed personal and relevant to the relationship/friendship I had with the individual receiving said card. are two examples of cards that truly moved me (and made me cry). The first is from my great, awesome, fantastic, loving, beautiful, hilarious friend Rachel and the second is from my grandparents :)

Card #1:
"For My Friend:
It's hard to put into words all the things that come to mind when I think about how many happy birthdays we've wished each other through the years.

We've been through so much together.

We've done the whole laugh-till-it-hurts thing more times than we could ever count.

We've loved and lost and loved again.

We've talked through feelings and dreams too embarrassing to share with just anyone, and shared the details of the everyday stuff of life no one else would probably care about.

And even though we've seen our lives change so much from one year to the next, I know without a doubt that nothing will ever change how much your friendship means to me.

Happy Birthday."

Card #2:
"Life Legacies: Thoughts for my Granddaughter on her Birthday

Live Deep: Never stop learning, playing, or finding wonder in the world around you. Live the length of your life, but live the depth of it as well.

Travel light: There is no use in carrying around worry and regret. They only weigh you down. Always keep yourself open to hope and to love. They give us wings.

Forgive imperfections in yourself and others. Imperfections keep things interesting. They're the cracks where the light shines through.

Own beautiful things: And not just to keep in the drawer, tucked away for a perfect day. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, that remind you of the beauty all around us if we only keep our eyes open to it.

Make mistakes: Follow detours. Sometimes it takes an unexpected turn to help us find the life that is waiting for us around the bend. Trust yourself and the path that is meant for you.

Take care of yourself: And sometimes that means you need the ice cream. Be good to your body, but also to your mind and spirit. You're the only one who can.

And always, always know you are loved. You are a gift to this world and a blessing to us. And that will never change."

So to all of you greeting card writers out there, keep up the good work. Because when I read those cards, I heard the voices of one of my best friends and my grandparents. They truly moved me.

On that note, I challenge you to send a card to the first person you think about when I say the word----luau! GO!