My hair is blonde and long. Most of the time you will find it piled up in a bun. This is related to so many reasons. Normally it is due to the heat. No one wants hair sticking to their neck. Then at the hospital I don’t want to deal with it getting in my face while working or it getting into something else I don’t want to think about. I had these reasons back home too but here I have found one more. This reason was one that I didn’t really notice at first until I found myself thinking about what I was doing.
Before I leave the house, up goes my hair. Before I greet someone at the door, up goes my hair. Even going to church (where I normally would wear my hair down), I place it neatly up. Only my host family and a few friends have seen my hair down. One night I took food over for my friends who were working and I had just taken a bath and my hair was still a bit wet so I left it down. When I walked into the nurse station they both just looked at me. “Wow! Your hair. It is so beautiful.” I didn’t know what to say. “Thank you” I stammered. The next time I was asked by some friends what my hair looked like down I decided that I would show them. Once again they all opened their months in surprise as my hair fell down. “It is so long. It is so soft. It is so blonde.” I just laughed and agreed with them.
Having hair and skin that is a different color draws attention to me. I’m not a fan of this. If I could, I would love to blend in more. I have found that when my hair is up, I feel like I stand out a little less. So, up goes the hair. I try to hide that I am different.
This is the body God gave me. We are all different. We are all uniquely made. Learning to love who you are is hard. I struggle with that. Being in a community where blonde hair and white skin isn’t the norm can make you stop and think. At the same time, the things that matter are deeper than colors. I know that I have begun to form friendships here that are based on more than the color of my hair or skin. That makes me feel good. I’m going from being a foreigner to part of the community. While I will probably still wear my hair up, I won’t let that stop me from taking a walk down the road, singing with the choir, or enjoying the community that I now call home.